Dumbo Movie Review 2019: Hard Landing For Baby Jumbo

Dumbo Movie Review 2019: Hard Landing For Baby Jumbo

Movie Name
Tim Burton
Family, Fantasy
01 hours 52 minutes

Dumbo Review

A baby elephant with expressive blue eyes and oversized, floppy ears is cuddlesome. But director Tim Burton's 2019 reboot of Disney's heart-tugging original (Dumbo,1947) is bothersome. Because you just can't get your trunk around the thought that such a cute premise could be turned into such a crashing cliché.

As anybody who's seen or heard of the original Dumbo would know, a freak baby elephant with large flapping ears is born in a circus that's struggling to survive. It's just after World War 1 and Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), now a widower, is back home at the circus tent with one arm missing. Once a celebrated horse rider and the star draw of the circus, Holt finds that home isn't what it used to be with owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) having to take tough decisions. Like separating little jumbo from his mother.

Holt's children Milly and Joe who've just lost their mother have that in common with Dumbo - they know how that loss feels. But there's hope around the corner as Dumbo's wondrous ability to flap his ears and fly puts the Medici Brothers Circus in the headlines.

It also brings them face to face with the evils of corporatisation embodied by a ruthless Vandevere(Michael Keaton). Vandevere sells the idea of a partnership with accompanying fame and fortune to Medici and his team.

Between screenplay writer Ehren Kruger and Tim Burton, their trapeze slips without a safety net as the story of the lovable pachyderm with the adorably expressive eyes flies into predictability. Vandevere has tricked Medici and his troupe but goodness ultimately prevails.

The one saving grace of this clean family film is the heartrending element of Dumbo being coaxed into flying and being turned into a show animal, petrified and humiliated by the villainy of Vandevere.

There is the ultimate message of taking animals out of cages and cruelty and setting them free and turning circuses into animal-less entertainment.

But the noble thinking sinks under the jumbo problem of a narrative as dull as a carnival facing an electricity blowout. There is that ho hum, we know what's coming next feeling as the human characters go about their jobs with the routineness of a bank teller counting currency notes. Neither the brewing romance between Vandevere's girl Colette and the one-armed Holt nor the rescue of Mamma Jumbo from the bad man's Nightmare Island, emits an applause-fetching thrill.

Disclaimer: We are proud that LehrenTV reviewer Bharathi S Pradhan has been appointed an advisory member of the prestigious CBFC. However, her reviews reflect her personal appraisal of a film and do not in any way speak on behalf of the Censor Board.

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  • Dialogues
  • Story
  • Music
  • Screen Play

The Verdict

For a value-based story for small kids where excitement flies out pretty soon, Dumbo gets a 2.5* rating.


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