ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Dumbo

Updated on December 26, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Written by: Jason Wheeler, Film Frenzy Senior Writer & Editor.

Background

In 1941, Ben Sharpsteen, Norman Ferguson, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Jack Kinney, and Samuel Armstrong released Dumbo, based on the children's story of the same name by Helen Aberson. Starring Edward Brophy, Herman Bing, Margaret Wright, Sterling Holloway, Verna Felton, and Cliff Edwards, the film grossed $1.6 million at the box office.

Synopsis

When circus elephant Mrs. Jumbo receives a new baby with incredibly large ears, she names him Jumbo Jr. The child is mocked for his ears and ends up all alone following Jumbo defending him. Referring to him as Dumbo, none of the other elephants want anything to do with him and he continues to be placed into comic relief roles night after night.

Review

While not exactly a bad film, Dumbo really isn’t anywhere near good. A notable aspect it has going for it is apart from the one kid who bullied Dumbo in one scene, there is no true antagonist to be found. The other elephants do hate him and acte like he didn't exist outside of shows. Nevertheless, they do have a point at times, especially with Dumbo ruining the climax of their act which ends up hurting them. The ringmaster isn’t a villain either as locking away Jumbo and sending Dumbo to the clowns was an effort to maintain and protect all the aspects of his circus. He's trying to put on a good show, figure out what his audience wants and make whatever money he can to keep the lights on. His logic surrounding the decision to make Dumbo a clown is he believes it's best for business. Further, none of the clowns are antagonists towards Dumbo, considering they're just doing their jobs and some of them express concern for his welfare. The only other prominent characters Timothy and Dumbo meet are the crows who do nothing more than amicably tease them and articulate their surprise at the notion of an elephant flying before helping Dumbo do so. The lone reason the kid who does legitimately antagonize Dumbo has any of the markings of an antagonist is due to him setting off the chain of events making up the plot. Aside from his one appearance, he has no bearing on the rest of the film.

Additionally, it's fascinating the best part of the film is the weirdest scenes in the film. Dumbo and Timothy spend an evening imbibing in alcohol and wind up hallucinating a musical number involving pink elephants on parade. It's a great combination of hilarious and creepy imagery that would define many other bizarre moments in Disney films.

However, regardless of the above, the plot is really just flat. Dumbo isn't the main focus despite him being the title character. Instead, the film spends an inordinate amount of time focusing on everyone else's reactions to Dumbo and what they make of him. What little time the film does spend focusing on him simply shows what he's doing before switching back to all the other characters. One occasion has the other elephants vowing Dumbo is no longer one of them and the film immediately goes about introducing Timothy. LIkewise, upon Dumbo discovering his ability to fly, the focus is on the crows helping him and what they are doing in their assistance. It could be explained the film doesn't spend much time focusing on Dumbo is because he's still a baby and therefore unable to talk. Yet, it's distracting how the main and titular character isn't the main focus of the film.

The pacing is a problem too. Where many Disney films are about an hour and a half, this is just over an hour and it feels very rushed. It feels like the scenes don't bridge into each other in their path towards the climax. Rather it feels as if they're rushing to get onto the next scene. Reaching the scene with the crows and magic feather didn’t feel very satisfactory as it didn’t seem like there was enough build to it.

2 stars for Dumbo

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture

Cannes Film Festival

  • Best Animation Design

National Board of Review

  • Top Ten Films

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Music, Original Song (For the song "Baby Mine.")


Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)