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Dumbo – 2019

Updated on April 21, 2019
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Dumbo's Theatrical Release Poster.  Notice, except for Dumbo all other characters depicted are human.
Dumbo's Theatrical Release Poster.  Notice, except for Dumbo all other characters depicted are human.
Dumbo's Theatrical Release Poster. Notice, except for Dumbo all other characters depicted are human. | Source

Overview

Walt Disney released its live action version of Dumbo in March 2019. Tim Burton directed this version. Tim Burton’s reputation for remakes is to have many twists in the plot and in the scenery. Tim Burton did this in Dumbo. This remake alludes to many of the elements in the 1941 animated film. These references to the original are cleverly done. Time will tell if this version will have the original’s staying power.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Dumbo 1941 poster.  Notice no humans depicted in this poster.
Dumbo 1941 poster.  Notice no humans depicted in this poster.
Dumbo 1941 poster. Notice no humans depicted in this poster. | Source

What the Live Action Dumbo Has and Doesn’t Have

There are no talking animals in this version. A mischievous monkey, Jumbo the elephant and her baby, Dumbo are only animals that show personality. It has a rendition of the song “Baby Mine” and an instrumental version of “Pink Elephants on Parade”. There is the line that mentions the different types of flies albeit it’s not done to song.

The Plot

The setting for the movie is 1919. The faded circus signs indicated the circus is going through hard times.

Two children, Milly Farrier (Nico Parker) and Joe Farrier (Finley Hobbins), wait at the train station. Their father, Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), is a veteran returning from fighting in The Great War. He is wearing his captain’s uniform. He has two medals and is missing his left arm. His wife, and two other circus performers, died in the 2018 flu pandemic[i]. Before the war Holt and his wife had an equestrian act at the circus. Joe is talentless and Milly, who is intelligent with credible ambitions of a career in medicine, feels performing is below her. The circus owner, Max Medici (Danny DeVito), sold the horses so he could buy Jumbo the elephant. Holt’s new circus job is elephant trainer. Medici bought Jumbo because she is pregnant and he hopes a newborn baby elephant would be a box office draw.

Jumbo’s baby has enormous ears. Medici feels his dream of a box office boom went bust. He attempts to hide the ears for the opening parade. Medici also has his prop people make a cosmetic arm for Holt. Medici is concerned Holt’s missing arm would disturb people. The attempt to hide the ears fail and the crowd jeers the baby elephant. Jumbo, sensing her baby’s distress, goes on a rampage. She destroys the big top and kills a handler. Medici gets a partial refund for Jumbo but keeps the baby elephant, dubbed Dumbo.

Medici feels he can recoup some of his losses by putting him in a clown act. Holt, being the elephant trainer, has to be one of the clowns. Holt considers himself as hitting rock bottom by being a clown. The Farrier children found Dumbo can fly but the adults don’t believe them because they are children. A mishap and a daring action by Milly reveal to all Dumbo can fly.

Dumbo’s flight leads to fame but this presents a new set of problems for Dumbo and the circus people. There are some clever moves and brave actions to set things right. Many of the characters grow from their experiences. The movie, while not much on laughs, is good family entertainment.


[i] At the time it was dubbed “The Spanish Flu”. During the 20th century flu epidemics were usually named after places. The term “Spanish Flu” wasn’t used in the movie.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Robert Sacchi

Comments

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    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      3 weeks ago

      The "Baby Mine" scene is very sad. Possibly the saddest scene in a Disney movie. The shooting scene in Bambi is also sad but it happens mercifully quick. Could that be the reason?

    • GetitScene profile image

      Dale Anderson 

      3 weeks ago from The High Seas

      Ah Dumbo, what can I say? My wife is a devoted Disney movie lover and yet poor old Dumbo cannot get any love from her. We were just talking about this movie a few nights ago and everyone at the table was shocked to hear my wife say "Nope, I am not watching Dumbo." She could not offer any rational explanation for her bigotry of the poor pachyderm so i am left to suspect that her mother must have been scared by an Elephant when she was pregnant.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      4 months ago

      I saw it with my son. He is into Disney and animation. I think it's a good movie. Remembering the original is also good for compare and contrast. Both movies are good time capsules.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      4 months ago

      I almost forgot my wife wanted to go see it. It has been many years since I have seen Dumbo you have created more desire and got me excited to see the new movie. Thank you for the review. Did both your wife and you see it and what did you think of it? Make today a great day.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      4 months ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Peggy Woods - It does make for an interesting compare and contrast. There is one scene where Disney seems to be mocking itself.

      Dianna Mendez - It's worth a look to see how they change the original.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 months ago

      Thanks for the review on this fun movie. I will have to put this on my list of must-sees.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      4 months ago from Houston, Texas

      I well remember the classic tale of Dumbo. This sounds like an interesting remake of the original. Thanks for your review of it.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      4 months ago

      Thank you both for reading and commenting. Yes, it is an interesting take on the classic. I believe for comparison purposes alone it's worth a look.

    • Eastward profile image

      Eastward 

      4 months ago from Bangkok, Thailand

      It sounds like a pretty interesting take on the classic as you've described it here. I'll have to give it a try.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Thank you, and same to you too.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      5 months ago

      Have a good week.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Yes, they do, and welcome always. Enjoy the week.

    • Robert Sacchi profile imageAUTHOR

      Robert Sacchi 

      5 months ago

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I hope your children do love it.

    • Miebakagh57 profile image

      Miebakagh Fiberesima 

      5 months ago from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA.

      Hello, Robert, very funny and comical, and I can't help lol! My kids will love it. Thanks for sharing in so such a short article or review.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      5 months ago from Sunny Florida

      My granddaughter will love this, and I would like to see it with her but she lives far away. This was a nice review of this film.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      5 months ago from UK

      This is an interesting review. Critics in the UK have not been over complimentary, but my adult daughter enjoyed the film.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 

      5 months ago from USA

      I look forward to seeing this. I love Disney films and would like to see the version in non-animated form. Thanks for reviewing it.

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