Title – Dumbo (2019)
Director – Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands)
Cast – Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Dany DeVito, Michael Keaton, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker
Plot – In post-war America, Halt Farrier (Farrell) and his young family find themselves in charge of caring for baby elephant Dumbo, whose unique ability of flying has made him the star attraction of the Medici Brothers circus run by Max Medici (DeVito), while also attracting the attention of plotting businessman V.A Vandevere (Keaton).
“Let’s get ready for Dumbo”
Review by Eddie on 02/04/2019
If 15 years ago it was announced that famed director and imaginative soul Tim Burton was going to be helming a modern day remake of beloved Disney animation classic Dumbo, you’d think that the film world would’ve been counting down the days until the film was released.
Fast forward to 2019 and the story is a whole lot different, as let’s not beat around the circus marquee, Tim Burton has lost his creative spark and mojo sometime ago and sadly, Dumbo isn’t the film to magically bring it back.
It’s a story that certainly fits the Burton M.O to a tee.
Magic, circuses, over the top villains, Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton (in a rather forgettable Batman reunion) and a sense of wonder and imagination, but in his current state of affairs, Dumbo is all the things that have been wrong about most of Burton’s more recent offerings, meaning the film isn’t intolerable, but it’s all types of forgettable.
Disney would want to hope that this is a one off, with other live action remakes in the form of Aladdin and The Lion King coming our way before we know it, as poor old big eared Dumbo is such a by the numbers affair, devoid of any real magic, that it makes you wonder if it would’ve been a better choice to just re-watch the much more streamlined and emotionally resonate animation for the umpteenth time.
Burton’s film isn’t devoid of moments of solid family orientated entertainment, scenes involving Dumbo taking to the skies will bring a smile to your face, Dumbo himself is a cute CGI creation, while some of the films sets and visuals are as good as you’d hope to get from a film with a $160 million production budget but there’s just a lack of real heart or spark here to make the film take to the skies like its protagonist.
This is just a sad continuation on from the Burton of old who since the success of Big Fish in 2003 has delivered such forgettable affairs as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland, Dark Shadows, Big Eyes and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children and while some of these films have been financial successes, Burton’s career phase where he seems determined to tackle beloved properties, have found the filmmaker struggling to give a soul to his well-financed escapades, a problem that many of his earlier film’s never had and a reason why so many feel in love with the filmmaker in the first place.
Not even the presence of likeable performers like Colin Farrell (in a rather thankless one-armed role as cowboy star Holt Farrier), Burton’s new muse Eva Green or the aforementioned Keaton or DeVito can do much to save Dumbo from a sense of mediocrity, although what else can you expect when they’re working off a script by the same screenwriter responsible for three separate Transformers films and the ghastly Ghost In the Shell.
Final Say –
There’s little moments of joy to be found in Dumbo but this padded out and mostly lethargic re-imagining of the adored animation is so forgettable and uninspired, you wonder why anyone even bothered, making this yet another stale entry into the increasingly dwindling returns of its director Tim Burton’s C.V.
2 ½ peanuts out of 5