(This is Dumbo film review, which is a live action adaptation of the 1941 cartoon of the same name)
Man, it’s been almost 7 decades since the original film appeared in theatre. And now it comes to us in the form of a 3D CGI elephant! I must admit that there are some nostalgia involved, as I did watch the film during my childhood. There are a few scenes that captivated me with its song and tale of love between mother and son.
With this film being directed by one of my favourite directors, Tim Burton, it does seem to show promise. I have never been really disappointed by his works and believed in his directing skill. What’s more, it stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Alan Arkin, all reputable stars that are decent in their own rights. Now let’s delve into the Dumbo film review below to see if it’s worth its salt!
A baby elephant with an abnormally large ears is born in a travelling circus. Everyone is disgusted by it…until the two kids of the ex-star equestrian find out its potential to FLY! A baby elephant that can fly with its ears as wings soon spread news throughout the country. With it, friends and bad guys start approaching and separate Dumbo from his mother. Could Dumbo be truly safe and reunite with his mom in the end?
Dumbo Film Review
The premise is actually quite different from the original film in a many different ways. First of all, the majority of the plot is changed. Now, we have Dumbo suddenly is able to fly within the first 30 mins with just a feather as the trigger. I still remember the original animated film spent most of the time showing Dumbo learning how to fly.
Aside from that, the antagonists are changed to reflect a more modern taste. I’m fine with most of these, as they are necessary to turn the original one hour premise into a 2 hour film. And to keep it interesting, some changes are needed to appeal to the modern audience.
However, I don’t really like the fact that there are no more talking animals…
However, I don’t really like the fact that there are no more talking animals, as I felt that was the main thing that drew me back then. Sure, now I’m an adult and is expected to watch a more ‘realistic’ approach. But Dumbo is a film from childhood, so I was at least expecting some of those ‘talking animal’ fantasy to return as well. Cause though the focus on the human characters are good, it feels like the film lost its magical touch.
Pacing is actually pretty fast. Dumbo can fly in half an hour and then fly further with a trainer on its back within an hour. Unlike the original which takes its time and introducing some magical scenes or touching moments between him and the humans and animals, this live action wants to move things fast. In fact, I felt that it’s a bit too rushed, especially in introducing the antagonists and several other characters.
They also rush the musical moments with the balloon scenes…
They also rush the musical moments with the balloon scenes, which I think is one of the most touching and magical moments in the film. Man, in fact, I remember that the clearest while watching back 15 years ago. But now it’s rushed to just a 4 minutes of CGI stuff.
With that said, the CGI here is pretty well done even though it’s used heavily. Tim Burton knows how to balance them and does not show off the CGI needlessly. The Dumbo design is just decent though, as I don’t see anything special with it.
Ok, for this part, I will say the films have a decent character growth for Dumbo. Where it begins to learn how to fly and also longing to return with its mother. Then, it kinds of stop at that point. From what I see, the two kids who help Dumbo are quite one-dimensional with not much unique trait. They try to make the girl have a scientist mindset but it’s not explored much further from there. As for the boy, he’s just there for the plot. but at least he smiles more than the girl, as she is always frowning.
The antagonist is very exaggerated but still seems too forced.
Other characters like the kids’ dad, the ringmaster and the main antagonist are alright, but not entirely memorable. In fact, somehow I remember the Indian character who is a snake charmer more. And the monkey too. The antagonist is very exaggerated but still seems too forced. Though Eva Green’s character is also quite a memorable one haha.
Honestly, it seems the part where Dumbo is longing to meet with his mum is a bit subdued in this film compared to the original.
Strangely, many of the soundtracks from the original film do not appear here. In fact, ‘Baby Mine’ is not shown in the film at all until the credit. Thus the whole film seem to lose a strong link to nostalgia when some of the more memorable songs are not included. It’s not to say that the replacements are bad, but with nostalgia being one of this film’s possible factor for success, it’s kind of puzzling why they left it out man.