First coming to our screens in 1941, Dumbo tells the story of a young elephant whose oversized ears enable him to fly. Despite living in a circus amongst other misfits he is still identified as an outsider and a freak. After his mother is locked away after protecting him from audience members who taunted the young calf due to his large oversized ears. He finds friendship with a surprising ally – Timothy the mouse and is able to outwit those who abused him with the help of his enormous ears.
Director Tim Burton has taken the helm as Disney’s Dumbo returns once more to our screens, in a live-action remake. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) operates a struggling circus that is failing to attract an audience. The adventure takes a turn when he purchases a pregnant elephant, hoping to use the new-born calf to revive his business. The circus eagerly awaits the birth of the baby elephant only to be shocked and disheartened by the oversized ears of baby Jumbo. Recruiting veteran Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) they attempt to find a purpose for the baby elephant in the Medici Circus. Baby Jumbo who gets renamed Dumbo grows especially close to the two children after being separated from his mother following an incident with led to the death of her former handler. Discovering a feather which helps him to fly, Dumbo becomes the new star of the circus, attracting audience members to the rundown circus. Dumbo’s well-publicised talent attracts the attention of entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) and his aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green). Making Max an offer he cannot refuse, the whole circus family moves to Vandevere’s entertainment venture, ‘Dreamland’. Joining Colette, the two develop a new and exciting act, meanwhile, Holt discovers Dreamlands dark secrets.
The live-action remake has taken a new approach to the story while still trying to pay homage to the original. While the CGI generated elephant and the circus was visually enjoyable for audience members, this effort falls short of expectations and fails to do either Tim Burton or the storyline justice.