The adorable circus animal who used his freakishly giant ears to fly may have been pure lovability, until Tim Burton’s “reimagining” proves even the cuddliest things can mark that assumption wrong. The new Dumbo embraces saturated marketing only to take advantage of the public, much like how a “sweet” family-friendly story features a hot wife for no reason besides to satisfy the male gaze. The typical person thinks that s/he wants to relive childhood memories temporarily, which of course leads the Disney studio to exploit classic Burton.
The wicked imagination behind Beetlejuice, Batman, and other hits of abnormality brings only one scene of his trademark style as he directs totally demented pink elephant bubbles. Although it’s an incredibly pointless scene, made even worse when the editor cuts away too quickly for the audience to get a good look at the rosy bubbles. Henceforth, the intention of it being a creepy scene fails. Burton also attempts relevance by including the original cartoon Dumbo merchandise that is sold to patrons, which is still an old-fashioned, dumbed-down way of conveying the complex ideas of abusing stardom.
The cast displays less talent than the CGI face on the delightful Casey Jr. train, with less time put into redeeming the corrupted flesh of the actors’ absent facial work, without so much as a smile nor gag in sight. I mean… does the widower father feel even a smidgen of survivor’s guilt? He never shows it. Any genuine feeling, particularly that of foulness, only comes out through the emotionally hollow way Jumbo Jr. gets his humiliating name. Then there’s Michael Keaton, whose funny overacting matches Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Yeah, no comment.
Now, for some lessons on Mouse House screenwriting 101:
- Pander early on by throwing in a lazy shot of field-working slaves for no reason.
- Neglect the details, don’t make it clear right away that it’s the ears that make the pipsqueak a freak.
- Don’t show anyone affected by the danger of a baby animal.
- Make sure when there’s a sad scene between animals, don’t show them crying, a lady playing on a ukulele will suffice.
- Reference an old Hollywood masterpiece, Raging Bull, by making Dumbo’s big top intro mimic a boxing match, with focus on the mike… to please genuine movie fans!
- Talk down to the PG-rated crowd.
With all these blaring issues, it goes to no surprise that nobody in the screenplay changes by the end, particularly the daughter, who hopes to pursue science outside the three rings. A key necklace is supposed to be a core component to her arc, yet it’s addressed exactly twice—nowhere near enough times! She almost positively hates being in the project, much like Colin Farrell, as he makes clear through his performance.
There are those appropriately dark moments, ones with indistinguishable animal silhouettes in black fog, but they are so short and so sparse, it doesn’t redeem how little the adults behind this feature expect out of young developing minds. It thinks children are inept at comprehending tragedy, just a lemur singing, “I like to move it, move it!” Yet in truth, as much as you try to sustain a crap circus for gullible minds to watch, the financial complications take over. These losers cannot bring the near-bankrupt circus back on top—they cannot manage money responsibly!
Yet Disney still builds up the hype, as after their past hits across animation and Broadway won over the public, they now continually tarnish their reputation with awful photorealistic remakes. People have said good things about them so far, but it seems over time that lower faith will be found toward such a nostalgic studio as it becomes a victim of its own identity. Of everyone responsible for this train wreck, only Oscar legend Colleen Atwood meets her high standard as she allows the visual power of costumes to flourish.
Surely you know yourself well enough to know that a movie where Morgan “God” Freeman gives Steve Carell ark-construction supplies is really only an excuse to make poop jokes. Surely you trust yourself enough to stop gullibly giving your money to an evil corporation despite all the signs from trailers and marketing saying to you, “we don’t care!” Do civilization a favor; ignore the pachyderm conga line at the Disney Corp. & Burton & Keaton Circus.
If there is a specific movie you’d like to see graded, or if you are interested in guest blogging for my site, please email me at Trevor@TrevorsViewOnHollywood.com for your recommendations.
Have a great weekend, and happy watching!
Disney Movies. Disney. Web. <https://movies.disney.com/dumbo-2019>.
Renshaw, Scott. “Movie Review: Dumbo (2019).” Digital image. City Weekly. Foundation, 26 Mar 2019. Web. <https://www.cityweekly.net/BuzzBlog/archives/2019/03/26/movie-review-dumbo-2019>.