Dumbo is a 2019 American fantasy adventure film directed by Tim Burton, with a screenplay by Ehren Kruger. The film is a live-action reimagining of Walt Disney’s 1941 animated film of the same name, which was based on the novel by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl. The film stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Alan Arkin, and child stars Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins.
I can barely remember anything about Dumbo but I do remember watching the 1941 animated movie back in Kuwait circa at a neighbour’s kids house with a bunch of other kids while munching on home popped popcorn. So we have the setting, a traveling circus called the Medici Brothers’ Circus, run by Max Medici. In 1919, WW1 veteran and amputee Holt Farrier returns to the circus where he was a star attraction as an equestrian performer and rejoins his two kids, daughter Milly & son Joe. His wife having died due to an outbreak of the Spanish flu, Holt needs a job and Max assigns him the care of the Asian elephant Jumbo. Jumbo is pregnant and soon gives birth to an adorable baby elephant with huge flapping ears.
Max wants the ears covered but the calf accidentally reveals his ears in his debut performance in Joplin, Missouri, and the crowd mockingly names the calf “Dumbo” while pelting him with peanuts and other objects. Mrs. Jumbo, horrified and enraged by her son’s mistreatment, rampages into the ring, causing extensive damage and accidentally collapsing the big top, which results in the death of an abusive handler. Medici resorts to selling Mrs. Jumbo. Holt’s son and daughter, Joe and Milly Farrier, comfort Dumbo and discover he can fly by flapping his ears. The children also discover that feathers are the key to Dumbo’s willingness to fly. In another performance, Dumbo plays the role of a firefighter clown to put out a fire with water sprayed from his trunk, but the performance goes wrong and Dumbo is trapped on a high platform surrounded by flames. Milly delivers a feather to Dumbo, giving him the confidence to fly. The audience is astounded when Dumbo flies and word of his talent begins to spread.
V. A. Vandevere, the entrepreneur and owner of a bohemian amusement park called Dreamland in New York City, approaches Medici and proposes a collaboration; Medici would become Vandevere’s partner and the Medici Brothers’ Circus’ troupe would be employed to perform at Dreamland. The circus folk move to NYC to join Dreamland where Vandevere pairs Dumbo with French trapeze artist, Colette Marchant. Colette and Dumbo’s debut performance at Dreamland goes wrong with Dumbo nearly falling off a high platform leading to him trumpeting in alarm since there is no safety net. Dumbo hears his mother’s call in response and realizes that his mother is in an exhibit elsewhere in Dreamland. Dumbo flies out of the circus ring, reuniting with his mother, to the disappointment of the audience. Fearing that Mrs. Jumbo may become a distraction to him and ruin his reputation, Vandevere orders her to be terminated. Vandevere also fires all the Medici performers from Dreamland.
When Holt and the rest of the Medici troupe learn that Vandevere intends to kill Dumbo’s mother and it’s no longer safe for the two elephants to live with them, they resolve to set both her and Dumbo free. The circus performers band together to help break Mrs. Jumbo out of her enclosure while Holt and Colette guide Dumbo to fly out of the circus. Vandervere’s attempts to stop them causes an electric fire and the place burns down. After Dumbo saves Holt and his family from the fire, Holt, Colette, the kids, and the troupe bring Dumbo and his mother to the harbor, where they board a ship back to their native home in India. Afterwards, the renamed Medici Family Circus is re-established and flourishes with Colette as the newest troupe member, Milly as host of a science lecture exhibit, and performers dressed as animals.
Ok, it’s not the best. It lacks character and charm and it’s a by the book movie. The whole romance between Colette & Holt is non-existant. Atleast the CGI baby elephant is cute and will win a lot of hearts. The two kids were good in it. Overall it’s a non-memorable movie. 7 outta 10!