Review: DUMBO Is An Unnecessary and Bland Remake Of A Beloved Classic

FIRST IMPRESSION

Dumbo certainly isn't terrible and isn't even the worst of Disney's live action remakes, but it is very bland and average in almost every way.
Writing
Directing
Acting
Technical Merit

Dumbo is Disney’s newest attempt to remake one of their beloved animated properties into a live-action film. Dumbo tells the story of a baby elephant who is ridiculed for his big ears but soon discovers that he has the gift of flight. This is Tim Burton’s second Disney live-action remake after 2010’s Alice in Wonderland.

The story is very different from the original, and yet, it still feels completely unoriginal. It is hard to expand a sixty-four minute movie into almost two hours, and the film doesn’t succeed in so doing. Every beat in the movie can be predicted from the beginning. Simply put, it’s a pretty average movie for kids. However, the biggest issue isn’t necessarily the predictability — that can be mostly forgiven because this film is not aimed at audiences who will care about that. Instead, the issue is that the movie is extremely average in almost every way.

One of the more frustrating aspects of the film is that it tries to say something about greed and consumerism, but it lacks the bite and sincerity that it needs to be effective as a parable. You can tell that the filmmakers wanted to say something, and it almost feels like it has been censored in a way. After all, the company that owns the world is never going to allow one of their movies to have a message that portrays themselves in a negative light.

dumbo dreamland
In Tim Burton’s all-new, live-action reimagining of “Dumbo,” persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) decides that a young elephant from a struggling circus belongs in his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Directed by Burton and produced by Katterli Frauenfelder, Derek Frey, Ehren Kruger and Justin Springer, “Dumbo” flies into theaters on March 29, 2019. © 2018 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The movie does develop the lead human characters somewhat well. We feel intense sympathy for brother and sister Milly and Joe Farrier. Their backstory is a bit contrived and generic (tough love father, dead mother), but it is effective at making us care about them and their story. Their relationship with Dumbo also develops them further. On the other hand, the supporting characters aren’t particularly interesting at all.

That being said, the film doesn’t succeed at pulling at the heartstrings in the way it seems to intend. The emotional moments all feel forced and ineffective. Part of the reason why the movie isn’t emotional enough is that the story is so predictable, so there aren’t any stakes established. However, the film does seem to resonate with its younger target audience, so that is something to keep in mind.

dumbo net
When high-flying star Colette Marchant teams up with a baby elephant who can fly, their new act proves a little challenging. Starring Eva Green as Colette, Disney’s all-new, live-action adventure “Dumbo” opens in U.S. theaters on March 29, 2019. © 2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The excellent ensemble assembled for this movie was actually quite disappointing. Pretty much everyone was over-the-top. Colin Farrell’s performance is largely emotionless and his Southern accent is absolutely ridiculous. Danny Devito is in a role similar to what he usually does, and he is very over-the-top with it. Michael Keaton is silly and hammy as the antagonist. Eva Green and Alan Arkin may as well not have been in the film because their roles and performances were so insignificant.

The area in which the movie succeeds most is in its execution, but it is still rather bland when compared to some of Disney’s other films. The movie looks like a Tim Burton film, but doesn’t feel like one. It has the dark and cool color scheme characteristic of Burton’s movies, but not the tone necessary to make it fit. The score also doesn’t fit the tone of the film very well. However, the CGI for Dumbo is definitely impressive and very cute. Disney will likely make a great deal of profit on merchandise of the new form of the character.

Overall, Dumbo was average in almost every way. It is one of the weaker live-action Disney remakes and one of the most disappointing Burton movies to date.

Dumbo opens in theaters March 29.

TRENDING THIS WEEK

Lovecraft Country: Season 1 Episode 6 Promo | HBO

On the next. #LovecraftCountry #HBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Official Site of Lovecraft Country on HBO: https://itsh.bo/lovecraft-country-series Stream on HBO Max: http://itsh.bo/hbo-max Get More HBO Official Site: https://itsh.bo/dotcom Twitter: https://twitter.com/hbo Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hbo Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hbo Lovecraft Country: Season 1 Episode 6 Promo | HBO

Your Honor (2020) Official Trailer | Bryan Cranston SHOWTIME Series

The 10-episode legal thriller stars Cranston as Michael Desiato, a respected New Orleans judge whose teenaged son Adam (Hunter Doohan) is involved in a hit-and-run that leads to a high-stakes game of lies, deceit and impossible choices. Coming to SHOWTIME this December! #SHOWTIME #YourHonor Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube channel: http://goo.gl/esCMib Don’t have SHOWTIME? Order…

World’s Funniest Animals | Season 1 Episode 1 | Surfs Up Scene | The CW

Stream new episodes of World's Funniest Animals Saturdays free only on The CW: https://go.cwtv.com/streamWFAyt SUBSCRIBE: http://go.cwtv.com/YTSubscribe About The CW: Official YouTube Channel for The CW Network featuring the hit series Riverdale, as well as Black Lightning, The Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Supernatural, The 100, Dynasty, In the Dark, and Roswell, New Mexico.…

Black Box – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #BlackBoxMovie Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (Born With It) and script by Osei-Kuffour Jr. and Stephen Herman, Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World 3, The Circle), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Amanda Christine (Colony), Tosin Morohunfola (The Chi, The 24th), Charmaine Bingwa (Trees of Peace, Little Sista), and Troy James (The Flash, Scary Stories to…

‘Oath’ Ep. 2 Clip | Power Book II: Ghost | STARZ

Davis has no idea what he’s gotten into. Catch up on the latest episode of #PowerGhost only on the #STARZ App! #PowerGhost #PowerBook2 #PowerNeverEnds #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more Power: http://bit.ly/1kalhP0 Get your special offer of the STARZ app: https://starz.tv/32s4aGT Like Power Book II: Ghost on Facebook: https://bit.ly/2Zfs6gw Follow Power Book…

Lovecraft Country: The Craft – Storyboard Artist Eric Yamamoto | HBO

“I want the director to feel comfortable and competent with the idea that they’re going to put on the screen.” #LovecraftCountry Storyboard artist Eric Yamamoto talks about how he helps bring directors’ visions for the show to life. #HBO #EricYamamoto Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: https://goo.gl/wtFYd7 Official Site of Lovecraft Country on HBO: https://itsh.bo/lovecraft-country-series Stream…

Baseball Game | Madagascar A Little Wild • A Hulu Original

The crew heads to the New York Green Giraffes Stadium for “Best Fans Day”, but amid all of the excitement, Alex ends up hurting Marty’s feelings. Will these “Best Fans Forever” make up? Watch along in the all new series, Madagascar A Little Wild, now streaming on Hulu! ABOUT MADAGASCAR: A LITTLE WILD Join your…
Avatar
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here