This Disney live action film has the iconic 1941 movie of the same name as a predecessor. Disney is gradually re-making some of its old classic cartoon movies but with live actors.
For example, in 2015, Disney made a live action version of “Cinderella” with Lilly James as the star and made a ton of money. Disney followed this success with a live action version of “Beauty and the Beast” in 2017.
With a built in audience and a well known brand, Disney can afford to stuff this film with a well known and expensive cast.
Familiar faces include Eva Green, Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito and Alan Arkin. Also watch for a fine, if small, performance by India born Roshan Seth.
Set in a failing circus in the post World War I era, this “Dumbo” has some darker moments, but those will register mostly with the grown-ups. This PG-rated film will have nothing to discombobulate the wee ones.
The Colin Farrell character comes back from WWI to find that the great influenza epidemic has taken his wife.
He has lost an arm in battle. And the circus trick rider’s trained horses have been sold off to keep the failing circus afloat. This grim reality faces the father of two.
We know Disney so we know that whatever happens, it will all come out well in the end.
DeVito is the conniving, perhaps crooked owner of the circus, which he underplays compared to some of his more bombastic roles.
Keaton plays an even more crooked, but higher level impresario perfectly.
At 84, Arkin puts a lifetime of craft into a simple declarative sentence.
Nico Parker, daughter of actress Thandie Newton, plays the young daughter of the returning soldier.
The story sort of comes apart in terms of believability in the last 20 minutes, but the target audience will not mind. We shouldn’t mind either.
This is a Disney movie about a baby elephant that uses its ears to fly. A fast escape by steamship to India should not throw us off stride.
Director Tim Burton has a long film history and a reputation for making offbeat films. He has two Oscar nominations. Some of my favorite Burton films are “Mars Attacks,” “Edward Scissorhands” and “Ed Wood.” He has also made big budget movies like the 1989 version of “Batman.”
The CGI baby elephant Dumbo is so adorable that people will want to see the movie just to see Dumbo. Disney spent $170 million making the movie.
It runs for one hour and 52 minutes.
I award “Dumbo” an average three sawblades.
Movie fans will like the strong acting.
Kids will like the cute elephant. All good.