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Cinema Dispatch: Dumbo

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Dumbo and all the images you see in this review are owned by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Directed by Tim Burton

Dumbo wasn’t really one of my favorites in the Disney cannon growing up.  I was always more of an Aladdin guy myself, so the prospect of getting a Dumbo movie from Tim Burton of all people seemed like the perfect mix of baffling and uninteresting, BUT once the trailers started coming out and I realized Danny DeVito was gonna DeVito it up in there, it at least managed to get my attention even if not for all the right reasons.  Sure, I’ll go to bat for DeVito almost every time (except The Lorax.  Ugh…), but what exactly are they trying to do with this movie!?  Is this the kind of remake that’ll make people even more cynical of Disney than they already should be, or is there some bold unique vision to all of this that I’m just not seeing?  Let’s find out!!

Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has just returned from the war to the circus he worked for prior, and finds things a bit worse for wear.  Granted he lost an arm, but the circus is losing profits, animals, and oh yeah his wife died as well.  His kids seem fine if nothing else (Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins) and the circus’s ringmaster Max Medici (Danny DeVito) has some work already lined up for him.  Okay he’s not gonna be riding horses and shooting guns like he used to, but being the elephant handler is almost as good, right?  It’s a particularly sweet deal since Medici’s new elephant is about to have a baby which will bring in the crowds from all over!  Unless of course the elephant is a freak with big ears or something, but what are the chances of THAT happening!?  Okay, so the baby happens to be a big eared freak (because elephants don’t have big ears already?) but Medici gives him a shot at the spotlight which ends up going pretty badly for all involved as the rowdy crowd starts jeering and calling him Dumbo which sets off his mother who then gets sold to another circus; leaving Dumbo all alone to be mocked and ridiculed by the masses.  Sounds a bit heavy, but fear not!  The children have found out that he has a USEFUL gift which is the ability to fly, so now instead of being a laughingstock to make money for his capitalist overlords, he can be an inspiration wonder for his capitalist overlords!  Speaking of capitalists, Dumbo’s ability to soar through the air with the greatest of ease gets the attention of VA Vandevere (Michael Keaton) who has a MUCH bigger circus in New York (you could call it some sort of park for the purposes of amusement) and convinces Medici to move his operation there with absolutely NO catch whatsoever!  PINKIE SWEAR!  He just wants Dumbo to perform with his trapeze artist Colette (Eva Green) because… I don’t know, I guess a flying elephant wasn’t enough to appease the masses?  With Dumbo’s new found fame and spectacular abilities, will he be able to one day reunite with his mother as the kids have promised him over and over again?  What is Vandevere REALLY up to, and is there any chance that a guy with that kind of hair ISN’T a bad guy?  Was anyone really asking for this?  Like… at ANY point did someone out there even suggest that Dumbo should be made into a live action movie?

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“ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?  IS THIS NOT WHAT YOU ASKED FOR IN A DUMBO REMAKE!?”

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