by Cindy Summers
3 palm trees out of 4
Dumbo is the 2019 Walt Disney Pictures version of the animated Disney classic originally released 1941. Directed by Tim Burton, Music by Danny Elfman. and Written by Ehren Kruger. Starring Danny DeVito as Max Medici, Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier and Michael Keaton as V.A. Vandevere with great performances from child actors Nicole N. Parker as Milly Farrier & Finley Hobbins as Joe Farrier.
Set in 1919, it’s a reminder of a time when the circus traveled on trains. The Medici Circus traveled across the south and was plagued with loss from the influenza epidemic and declining crowds. Holt Farrier (Collin Farrell) returns from the war having lost an arm and discovering he also has lost his wife to influenza and his prize performing horses were sold to keep the circus going. There’s an obvious distance with his children Milly (Nicole N. Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) , who had to rely on each other having been left alone at the circus by circumstance.
Max Medici (Danny DeVito) buys Jumbo the elephant in hopes that a cute baby elephant can draw big crowd, only to have his dreams crushed by Dumbo’s seemingly deformed large ears. You can’t help but fall in love in an instant peering into Dumbo’s sweet blue eyes and extremely realistic looking CGI. Milly and Joe discover quite by chance that when Dumbo sniffs up a feather, he can fly. Feeling this will help the Medici circus, Dumbo get national exposure after flying in his first show.
This got the attention of a major investor, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) who offers to make Max a partner and give jobs to his troop in a giant permanent steampunk carnival venue, certainly a brilliant design that could only be created from the incredible imagination of Tim Burton. The music score also plays a big part in the emotion of the story, which is a testament to Burton’s continued project partnership with Danny Elfman.
Danny DeVito was perfect for his role as the crazy character running the circus, as he was hard not to love regardless of his morally questionable actions or intentions. It felt as though Keaton overacted the villain part at times but enjoyed the contrast of little Milly wanting to make scientific contributions to the world like Marie Curie. I found myself on the edge of my seat as the recently fired carnival crew set out to rescue Big Jumbo and Little Dumbo, and think the remake brings much reality and believability to this timeless Disney classic.
Dumbo is a movie for people of all ages and for those that think you remember the story line believe there’s much to see in this new release.
Rated PG – 112m