Why Fly When You Can Soar? A Dumbo Movie Review

Dumbo soared into theaters everywhere on March 29th and soared into my heart when I went with my family to view it that weekend.  In all honesty, I was unsure as to whether or not I'd really like the new Tim Burton version of this Disney classic.  I was not a fan of Tim Burton's adaptations of Alice in Wonderland and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory - it's just not my style.  However, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the film and I'm happy to report that the same sentiment was shared by my husband and two boys - ages 4 and 7 - as well.  Here's what Walt Disney Studios shared about Dumbo:

From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, the all-new grand live-action adventure DUMBO expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.

So how does this compare to the original film?  While the storyline is the same at it's core, there are quite a few deviations to the 1941 movie.  First is the story point of view.  Instead of being narrated by Timothy Q. Mouse with the animals being the main storytellers, this new adaptation is told from the perspective of the circus workers themselves.  Milly and Joe Farrier are children who have grown up traveling with the circus as their mom and dad were stars in the Medici Brothers show.  Their dad enlisted in World War I and, when he returns, he comes home to find his wife has passed away from influenza (it's a Disney movie after all - mom had to pass away) and the circus at the brink of financial ruin.  In an effort to draw in big crowds, Max Medici purchases a new elephant who just so happens to be pregnant.  When Holt Farrer finds out his horse act has been cut, he finds himself in charge of caring for the elephants.  The next part of the movie remains fairly true to the original.  Baby Jumbo is born with large ears and immediately becomes the joke of the circus and nicknamed "Dumbo."  Coming to the defense of her baby, Mrs. Jumbo is seen as a dangerous animal and is sold from the circus.  Dumbo remains and, with the help of the Farrier family, learns that he has an incredible talent - flying. Dumbo becomes famous as a flying elephant and catches the attention of Mr. Vandevere, owner of Dreamland.  He offers the entire fledgling Medici circus the opportunity to come join him, but is Dreamland all it's cracked up to be and will Dumbo ever be reconnected with his mother?



As I've mentioned before, I was really hesitant about Tim Burton's involvement in this film, but I loved most of the film.  The new storyline featuring the Farrier family was heartfelt and showcased a young girl believing in her dreams, a father learning how to adjust to his changed life after the war, and the whole family learning how to lean and rely on each other in ways they hadn't previously imagined.  There is some Burton darkness to be aware of when viewing with the family.  There is the death of one character that you witness in a non-gory way (he's not a good guy, but still it's death), animal abuse and bullying (similar to the previous movie), Nightmare Island at Dreamland which features some pretty scary animals in darkness and fog, and finally a pretty devastating fire.  I did watch the film with my 4 and 7 year old and none of this seemed to really phase them, but it's worth knowing about with sensitive audiences.  I also have to say that I am a big fan of the end of the movie.  It's a complete shift from the old ending and feels even better!

Looking for more Dumbo fun to share with the family?  Check out all the fun family activities from Walt Disney Studios here, including coloring pages, mazes, and much, much more.  And don't forget to follow Dumbo on all of the social media channels listed below!

Like DUMBO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo/

Follow DUMBO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dumbo

Follow DUMBO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dumbo/

Visit the official DUMBO website here: https://disney.com/dumbo

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