Soaring High: A Fresh Take on Disney’s Dumbo – Review

Grade: B

Author: Billy Madden

Disney has embarked on a live-action remake spree recently, with Dumbo being the latest classic to get a 21st-century revamp. Based on the 1941 animated classic, the 2019 version of Dumbo delves deeper into the narrative thanks to its extended runtime – a significant leap from the original hour-long film to almost two hours. This remake ensures a journey that holds your heartstrings tight from beginning to end.

Despite it being several years since my last encounter with the 1941 Dumbo, certain iconic scenes persist in my memory – Dumbo’s mother being taken away and the trippy dancing elephants sequence. Both scenes are cleverly recreated in the 2019 version. However, Tim Burton doesn’t clarify why Dumbo becomes mesmerized by the pink elephants (now morphed into large shapeshifting bubbles), leaving Dumbo bobbing his head as if under the influence.

Dumbo’s storyline remains fundamentally unchanged – the large-eared novelty act that breathes life into a struggling circus. But Burton tugs at our empathy with Dumbo’s plight as he endures ridicule.

The CGI-animated Dumbo is an absolute spectacle, with Burton’s crew going all out to render him irresistibly adorable. His large ears and big blue eyes are a visual love letter to the audience. The movie carries a hauntingly beautiful art-deco aesthetic reminiscent of BioShock video games, coupled with stunning costumes and overall impeccable production design.

Even though Dumbo remains speechless in this rendition, the cast does a commendable job. While Michael Keaton seems to overact, Danny DeVito shines as the circus owner, and Colin Farrell excels in his role as Holt Farrier.

The theme of death resonates throughout the film, potentially unsettling for young audiences. The notion of killing Dumbo’s mother becomes a pivotal plot point, transforming the narrative into a rescue mission.

In conclusion, the 2019 Dumbo is a must-watch. Despite its melancholy undertones, it is highly entertaining and provides deeper insights into Dumbo’s backstory, including the origin of his name. Be prepared to shed some tears and ensure a shoulder to lean on when the movie hits its emotional crescendo. The latest Disney live-action remake, Dumbo, is one cinematic experience you don’t want to miss!


Struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists a former star and his two children to care for Dumbo, a baby elephant born with oversized ears. When the family discovers that the animal can fly, it soon becomes the main attraction — bringing in huge audiences and revitalizing the run-down circus. The elephant’s magical ability also draws the attention of V.A. Vandevere, an entrepreneur who wants to showcase Dumbo in his latest, larger-than-life entertainment venture.

  • Rating: PG (Peril/Action|Brief Mild Language|Some Thematic Elements)
  • Genre: Kids & Family, Fantasy, Drama
  • Original Language: English
  • Director: Tim Burton
  • Producer: Justin SpringerEhren KrugerKatterli FrauenfelderDerek Frey
  • Writer: Ehren Kruger
  • Release Date (Theaters): Mar 29, 2019  Wide
  • Release Date (Streaming): Jun 25, 2019
  • Runtime: 1h 52m
  • Distributor: Walt Disney
  • Production Co: Walt Disney Pictures, Tim Burton Productions
  • Sound Mix: DTS, Dolby Atmos
  • Aspect Ratio: Flat (1.85:1)

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