Review: Dumbo flies to new heights


Supplied by Disney


Bridget Turner, Reporter

Dumbo is the latest live-action remake to be released by Disney, the original hit screens nearly 80 years ago.

Director Tim Burton has captivated audiences once more by reimagining and expanding on the classic.

Dumbo is a beloved film, although slightly traumatising, and Burton’s take has brought a new found love to the big-eared baby elephant.

Adding almost an extra hour, the storyline has understandably been expanded, and the film now acknowledges aspects of the original which no longer reflect society.

Ehren Kruger, who is responsible for the screenplay and helped produce the film said: “Dumbo resonates with us because we’re all flawed in some way, yet Dumbo shows us that sometimes those flaws are what makes us special.”

A common theme throughout the film is that the world belongs to the dreamers, ‘if you can dream it, you can do it’. It embraces a world where differences are celebrated, where loyalty and family bonds are cherished, and where dreams can take you to new heights.

While the storyline may venture off the original’s track, it evokes nostalgia with nods to the original.

Noticeably absent is Timothy Q. Mouse, in the original, he is the support system for Dumbo when mother Jumbo is put in solitary.

In the remake, we see Milly and Joe Farrier, children who seek to help Dumbo reunite with his mother. The theme of reuniting is ever present throughout the storyline and drives it right till the end.

The film while set in 1919, is very firmly planted in 2019. The celebration of differences and embracing all quirks means there is no room for bullies in the movie, and those who seek to bring harm are sent packing.

Without spoiling the movie completely, I will say that the ending is beautiful and Kruger should be proud of the way he has guided Dumbo’s story to evolve from its beginning to conclusion.

Supplied by Disney
Dumbo Cast

Alongside the rights of the animals, audiences are also treated to feminism from a young source.

Milly Farrier played by Nico Parker is a curious aspiring scientist who is keen to learn about the world around her, she is also not afraid to speak her mind and stand up for what is right.

She comes out with this gem “First rule of science. You have to have an interest. Otherwise, you don’t deserve to know.”

What adds to the beauty of her strength is that she brings her younger brother Joe, played by Finley Hobbins, along with her, his enthusiasm brings joy to their mission to reunite Dumbo and his mother. Both being inspiring characters that children can look up to.

Dumbo features an all-star cast, Colin Farrell playing Holt Farrier, caretaker to Dumbo; Michael Keaton who plays V.A. Vandevere a pursuer of dreamers; Danny DeVito plays Max Medici, ringmaster and circus owner; Eva Green plays the enchanting Colette Marchant. The cast brings to life the world that is Dumbo and embraces a variety of talent.

Now I have to mention the music, orchestrated by Danny Elfman. Whilst many of the songs from the original are absent, you don’t miss them.

‘Baby mine’ the most well-known song from Dumbo features within the film where we get a special rendition by Sharon Rooney, who plays Miss Atlantis the resident mermaid.

It is sweet and melancholic tugging on your heartstrings. Yes, I did find myself shedding a tear or two. I mean how can you not? Separation of mother and child is hard for most to witness as it is, but adding a song like ‘baby mine’. Let’s just say I was a goner.

An added bonus, band Arcade Fire did a cover of ‘Baby mine’ for the credits scene, nodding to the gothic vibes that we associate with Tim Burton. A cathartic way to wrap up the movie.

As far as live-action remakes go, Disney has done a great job with Dumbo. Bringing the classic into this century and giving it new life while holding onto all the charms of the original.