Tim Burton returns to lend his hand to Disney with his vision of 'Dumbo' - the story of a baby elephant who learns to fly with his unnaturally gigantic ears. The general moral of the story is, don't be a jerk to people with abnormalities 'cause those abnormalities could be seen as a gift. Or something like that.
Most of us are familiar with Dumbo and remember the animated Disney version from 1941, when it was still considered okay to jive-talk as a black crow named Jim Crow. Other than that moment, though, the movie's great, and has gone down in history as a sort of Disney staple. So how does this new live action take on it compare?
First off it's important to know that unlike the animated version with talking animals, this one tries to stay somewhat within the realm of reality. Timothy Q. Mouse is just a white mouse in an outfit, and most of the story revolves around two kids, Milly and Joe Farrier (Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins, respectively), their father, Holt (Colin Farrell) and the ringmaster Max Medici (Danny DeVito) and their dealings with entrepreneur, V.A. Vandervere (Michael Keaton) and his most special performer, Colette Merchant (Eva Green). Dumbo, sadly kinda gets pushed to the side, and while the underlying original plot points are still there, it now lacks a lot of the heart of the original where the main focus WAS Dumbo.
However, it's not without its charm. Honestly, it's cute, it's okay for the family, and it's harmless. But all in all, it's just kinda "meh". This is another one of those movies where there's this near-perfect balance between what's good about it and what's bad about it. Good, Danny DeVito's performance, bad, Nico Parker's performance. Although she's still very young, so I'll chalk it up to bad direction, but she's absolutely stiff and deadpan and boring. Good, the creative idea they had to portray the 'Elephants on Parade' sequence, bad, the fact that Dumbo's story is off to the side.
Anyway, this is perfectly fine as something to show the kids who might get a little more freaked out by the original (I know of many). It's pretty innocent, and pretty basic. Credit to them for trying something new, but it didn't quite work out in the same way it did for something like 'The Jungle Book'. But thankfully it wasn't a carbon copy like 'Beauty and the Beast' (that's right, I said it, but don't worry, 'The Lion King' is something I'm looking forward to and it looks like I'm about to eat those words).
It's perfectly passable, but it sadly lacks the potential for what it could have been. The original story is just far more charming in my eyes, and likable characters like Timothy Q. Mouse kinda lost their chance to be in the spotlight again here. I wasn't its biggest fan, but people do seem to be split on it. I can pass it as a 3, but it's on the lower end of things for certain.