Movie Review – ‘Dumbo’ (2019)

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

I’m currently away on a little holiday break with my parents in Amroth this April, but here I leave you a little movie review to enjoy! As anticipated, I’ve seen the Disney live-action remake movie of ‘Dumbo’ at the cinema! I wasn’t certain what to make of this film before I went to see it at the cinema.

This is the first of a number of Disney live-action remakes to be released at the cinema in 2019. Disney live-action remakes can be pretty notorious when it comes to being a new take on an already classic animated movie. This 2019 remake of ‘Dumbo’ was of course inspired by the 1941 film from Walt Disney.

I saw the 1941 animated film back when I was a kid and loved watching it. But I haven’t seen it for many years. My approach to watching this 2019 film was rather fresh in its viewing. I took this film for what it was. I hoped it would work well with its own identity and the approach by director Tim Burton.

I must admit I was rather dubious about whether Tim Burton’s vision of ‘Dumbo’ would work. In fact, I’m rather surprised he took on the challenge to direct this movie. Tim Burton is more well-known for his craft in the macabre especially in films like ‘Edward Scissorhands’, ‘Beetlejuice’, ‘Corpse Bride’, etc.

Tim Burton has also directed the first two ‘Batman’ movies starring Michael Keaton which I like. And it would be remiss of me to mention that Tim Burton also directed the 2005 live-action adaptation of ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and the Disney live-action remake of ‘Alice In Wonderland’ in 2010.

My curiosity got the better of me with regards to seeing the 2019 film of ‘Dumbo’ at the cinema. I had discovered mixed reviews beforehand and I heard the film didn’t work well at the box office when it came out. But I was determined to give my thoughts on it and discover myself whether I would like it.

And to be honest…I actually think this live-action version of ‘Dumbo’ is very good! I mean that! I had a good time watching this movie at the cinema. It’s not anything like the classic animated 1941 film no doubt. But I enjoyed its own identity and the fresh approach Tim Burton delivered for it altogether.

The film itself isn’t as a dark and macabre as I expect. There was some dark lighting on occasion, but it didn’t spoil the enjoyment I had from seeing this film. It also feels unrecognisable as a typical Tim Burton film. I found this refreshing since it demonstrates the director can do more than macabre films.

The CGI for Dumbo as an elephant with big long ears that make him fly is also reasonably impressive. I know that Dumbo as a baby elephant with big long ears isn’t real, but for what it’s worth and seeing the emotions in the little elephant’s face when he’s sad and happy was pretty enjoyable to watch here.

The film’s cast is also good in the film. There’s Colin Farrell as Holt Farrier. Colin Farrell is well-known for his TV stint in ‘Ballykissangel’. He played Bullseye in the 2003 film ‘Daredevil’. I liked him as this circus performer who fought in World War I; lost his arm and has two children and Dumbo to care for.

There’s Danny DeVito as Max Medici, who is the ringmaster and owner of the Medici Brothers’ Circus. Danny DeVito directed and starred in the film ‘Matilda’ and he worked with Tim Burton before, playing the Penguin in ‘Batman Returns’. I enjoyed seeing Danny DeVito on the big screen. That’s a first I think.

And there’s Michael Keaton as V. A. Vandevere, who is a ruthless and enigmatic entrepreneur and amusement park owner of Dreamland. Michael Keaton of course played Batman in both ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’. He also played the Vulture in the ‘MCU’ movie ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ in 2017.

It was interesting to watch this film where Michael Keaton’s the bad guy and Danny DeVito is one of the good guys. In ‘Batman Returns’, it was the other way around. I’m also surprised Tim Burton didn’t cast Johnny Depp and Helen Bonham-Carter in this since he usually casts the two of them for his films.

The film also features Eva Green as Colette Marchant, a French trapeze artist who has an interesting story from being Vandevere’s muse at Dreamland to helping Holt Farrier and his kids with Dumbo and his mother. There’s also Nico Parker as Milly and Finely Hobbins as Joe, who are Holt Farrier’s children.

My Dad raised an interesting point in comparing the 2019 movie to the 1941 film. There was the issue raised of animal rights and performing animals at circuses in the days of 1919. At the end of the film, the animals at the circus are set free. I’m sure that is an interesting difference from the 2019 film to the 1941 film.

The film also didn’t have Timmy the mouse (which would’ve been nice to see 😀 ) and the four talking, laughing crows encouraging Dumbo to fly at the end. I didn’t mind this so much since it’s a different take on the story of course and at least they didn’t have the animals talk like they did in the 1941 film.

Overall, the 2019 live-action remake of ‘Dumbo’ has been very good to watch at the cinema. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy this, but I did. It doesn’t match to the 1941 animated film, but I enjoyed Tim Burton’s take on the story. I’m glad my parents and I saw this at the cinema and it was worth watching.

Perhaps I’ll see the live-action remake of ‘Aladdin’ next. 😀

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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