Review: Dumbo (2019)

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Am I the only one who is getting a little tired of all these live-action remakes of Disney classics? Whilst they are a good way of bringing classic stories to a new audience, a big part of me feels as though these live-action re-imaginings are somewhat undermining the many, many people, with incredible talent and skills, that work on animation and the may years it takes to fully complete a full length animated feature.

Yes, I enjoyed The Jungle Book and The Legend of Tarzan, and yes, I did watch Beauty and the Beast three times at the cinema but that, I think, is my limit now. I am, in no way, excited about upcoming features, Aladdin or The Lion King, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about Dumbo either, and don’t even get me started on that monstrosity that was supposed to be The Little Mermaid.

However, as I’ve said before, I quite often find that when I am not really enthusiastic about a film I usually end up enjoying it (i.e. Captain Marvel), and so I went into the cinema with an open mind.

I think it is important to note that this is an adaptation of the story, not a remake, so if you are expecting a like-for-like of the original then you are going to be severely disappointed. Although, to be frank, chances are you are going to be a bit disappointed either way.

Circus stallion rider, Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns from the war to find that he has not only lost his arm but also his act, after the penny-pinching circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) sold his prized stallions. In order to stay working, Max offers him the role of Elephant Keeper, which includes looking after the new born elephant, Dumbo (originally named Baby Jumbo), whose giant ears make him the laughing stock of the already struggling circus.

However, when Holt’s children Joe (Finley Hobbins) and Milly (Nico Parker) discover that Dumbo can fly, it puts the circus back on the map and firmly in the sights of entrepreneur V.A Vandevere (Michael Keaton). In order to make Dumbo a star, Vandevere offers Medici a partnership and the whole circus troupe move to his entertainment park, Dreamland, where they all live happily ever after. Just kidding, obviously!!

Unfortunately, and somewhat typically for Tim Burton, Dumbo is film that is more style over substance. Visually, the film is stunning and they absolutely nailed the titular character. Honestly, if I could’ve plucked Dumbo out of the screen and taken him home with me, I would have! I fell in love from the minute we see him emerge from under a pile of hay, Dumbo is a great example of CGI done well. Unfortunately, almost everything else just fell a little flat. The story is a little weak, the characters are underdeveloped and, despite the big name cast, the acting is sub-standard, although that may be a little unfair to Danny DeVito.

Although Eva Green’s mystique and sexuality works in this particular role as Colette, the exotic trapeze artist, I didn’t feel as though I was seeing anything new from her; the villain of the piece, Michael Keaton is guilty of over-acting and is ultimately utterly forgettable; and as the human lead, Farrell is disappointing and unlikeable.

Unfortunately, the newcomers Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins were also a little mediocre, although I think part of that may have been because they had so little to work with. Honestly, I don’t know what Hobbins’ character’s purpose was except to fill that 2.2 children family idealism. Parker, however, did show some potential, and as the daughter of Thandie Newton, I am sure she will continue to grow.

I would love to give you more but I’ll be honest, I have pretty much forgotten the whole movie already. If you have children, they may enjoy the spectacle of it and it is worth watching just to see the adorable Dumbo, although I would recommend waiting until it comes out on Blu-Ray.

Seen it? Let me know your thoughts.

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23 Comments Add yours

  1. Keith says:

    I ended up passing on this mainly because of the reviews. It’s a shame. I think I’ll take your advise and wait until bluray

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      I always try to encourage people to go to the cinema, even if I am not a huge fan of the film but I really didn’t want people to waste their money on this one 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. nsfordwriter says:

    Oh dear. No one seems to be impressed with this film. Have to admit I didn’t even like the original animation very much (just the circus & animal cruelty theme really). I’m glad you liked the actual Dumbo character.
    I haven’t been excited about any live action versions because I know they’ll not be as good as the animations. I like Beauty and the Beast but still prefer the original.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      I don’t really remember the original which I thought might mean I enjoy this more than others have but it just fell flat.

      I really liked Beauty & the Beast, in fact I probably prefer the new one, but the other live action releases I’m not looking forward to at all. Get some original ideas Disney!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nsfordwriter says:

        I’ve not seen any really positive reviews of Dumbo. I think in general Disney is focused on what will make money for them instead of gambling on new things.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Kirsty T says:

        Can’t disagree with that. I’ve noticed the same with Pixar films too, the don’t seem to have the same heart they used to.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Ronkerria's Post says:

    Great review! and at least the elephant is cute lol. & I never saw the original so I wanst excited to see this one either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you liked my review 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Aw no this is such a shame, I really wanted to see this one because elephants are my favourite animal!
    -Kyra

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Although the film isn’t great, the visuals on the elephants is pretty awesome. Dumbo is super cute so you may like that aspect. 😀

      Like

  5. Rhianna says:

    I have mixed feelings! I agree it wasn’t the best film in the world by any means, but I’m not sure why it’s got quite such bad reviews! I would probably give it like a 5 or 6 out of 10 maybe? But I definitely agree about several aspects like the kids being mediocre! Granted, they weren’t given much to work with, but I just found both characters very bland and forgettable!

    Rhianna x
    http://www.tsundokugirl.com

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      I think part of it is because people know that it’s just a money spinner for Disney and they get angry when it’s clear that there is not enough love put into it.

      Like

  6. Sarah Mark says:

    I, like you, was a bit sceptical with all these live-action remakes. As a child I loved Dumbo but I have avoided it at the cinema because I knew it was never going to live up to my expectations!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      That’s probably the wisest move, I’d wait until it comes out on DVD.
      Thanks for the comment x

      Like

  7. I was thinking about watching this one in the cinema… but after reading a few reviews I might wait until it’s on the internet somewhere

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      I usually try and persuade people to watch film at the cinema, after all my review is just an opinion. But this time… absolutely wait until it’s out elsewhere 😂
      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. lmao :’) no problem at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so not excited about the live action Disney remakes either. I’m a bit more willing to watch an adapted story, like the Cinderella, but an almost shot for shot remake of a cartoon seems lazy.
    I’ll probably just wait for this one to come on Sky Cinema before I watch it.
    Thanks for the review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kirsty T says:

      Thanks for taking the time to read my review.
      I hope you end up enjoying Dumbo more than I did.

      Like

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