Directed by: Tim Burton
Runtime: 112 minutes
Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny Devito, Eva Green
After last week looking into the horror genre, I wanted to get back to something a little more family-friendly. Dumbo. First and foremost, I saw numerous families in my showing. Children of all ages seemed to enjoy this and even my 83-year-old grandfather liked it. Regardless of what you take from this review, I will say upfront that this is a great movie to take your children and/or grandchildren to.
Onto the film.
This week we review Dumbo. Many will remember the classic Disney tale from the 1941 animated version. I can remember watching it as a child and being fascinated with the spectacular colors and musical acts. I can remember vividly the train slowly moving up the mountain saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.” Obviously, the story of Dumbo is one of triumph. Of believing in yourself when others do not. It’s a story about showing that no matter how unique you are or how much you don’t think you have to offer there is a spot and a purpose for everyone.
The film opens in Sarasota, Florida in 1919. We see that train that’s iconic from the original film. Although the train doesn’t speak this time around the music is fantastic. To me it felt like an adventure was about to begin. We see that the train is housing the Medici Bros. Circus. We then are taken throughout the country as the train and circus troupe stop and perform for area towns. Things seem thriving for the circus as we then meet Holt (Colin Farrell) He has returned from World War I and although the former star of the show as a stallion rider is now an amputee. He is greeted by
his two children and they return to the circus. We meet the owner Medici (Danny Devito) The circus is in disarray and they are desperate for a new act.
Eventually we meet Dumbo. (The CGI they used to create him was well done.) Immediately he is shunned and laughed at. We soon learn that more really does meet the eye. Thru a series of events the Medici Circus catches the eye of a wealthy and extremely successful businessman named Vandemere (Michael Keaton) and his top performer/partner Colette (Eva Green). Immediately there is chemistry with all of the actors but to me the acting came off over to top.
We are taken to Vandemere’s theme park/circus called Dreamland. Here is where director Tim Burton really shined. The music was again riveting, and the views of the park looked great. I did notice some water in the park. I expected a cliché “love scene” in a canoe with Holt and Colette, other than that I was impressed with the visuals and how “live” everything seemed. We see several scenes in Dreamland through Dumbo’s eyes. I enjoyed this nice addition to the film, and I felt like it helped put the viewer his Dumbo’s shoes so to speak.
My favorite scene was reminiscent of the 1941 classic. We see a striking scene with bubbles shaped as elephants. My family and I weren’t at a 3d showing but I can imagine it would have looked great. The music again was great in that scene and really immersed me into the film and it felt like I was at the circus. The entire circus staff shined but again the acting came off over the top.
Like I stated earlier this is a great film for families. I believe children of all ages will enjoy and there are several scenes and humor for the adults as well. Obviously, the key message is great. We are told to believe in ourselves. I believe everyone is guilty of losing sight of that from time to time. Tim Burton shined throughout with the visuals. Dumbo looked life-like and the scenes through his eyes helped the viewer to connect and added an aspect I wasn’t expecting. My main complaint as stated before was the acting. Any scene with a spectacle was great. The other scenes almost came off as filler and distracted from the fun during the circus. I would recommend any families to go and enjoy it. Don’t go in thinking it will be a frame for frame remake of the original and hopefully you leave with as big a smile as my grandpa had on his face. 3 out of 5 stars. #SHOPLOCAL
Andrew McManus is Operations Manager for Patties & Pints and its parent company Eflow Development. He can be reached at email@example.com or 740-981-9158.