(Walt Disney Studios)
In this live-action update of the classic animated Disney film, a young elephant overcomes bullying about his oversized ears to help save a struggling circus.
Rated PG, for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language
Viewer Appeal: Families with children ages 4-12.
It's a tale as old as time ... wait, sorry, wrong movie. But Dumbo is a classic tale first immortalized by Walt Disney himself during the World War II era (1941). This time around quirky director Tim Burton is at the helm, and live actors surround the titular star as he faces adversity, discovers it's OK to be different, and eventually soars to triumph.
For the uninitiated, Mrs. Jumbo is a circus elephant who is mother to a precious baby pachyderm. The little one is different from other elephants, though, because he's born with a "deformity" of enormous ears. Others in the circus ridicule him for that and brand him with the name "Dumbo." Much like Rudolph of the Christmas legend, Dumbo discovers his so-called handicap is actually a blessing (he can fly!) and through that he overcomes his life's hardships and brings joy to the world. Additionally, in what Disney dubs an "expansion on the beloved animated classic," Burton adds a nefarious mystery going on behind the scenes in a bigger (almost Disney-esque?) enterprise called "Dreamland."
I will admit that Tim Burton's skewed movie-vision is typically hit-or-miss for me, and this version of the Dumbo legend has a bit of both again. Moments here are heartwarming and genuine, others seem forced simply for shock value (especially in the darker tone of the "Dreamland" sequences in the film)--but I'll let you decide for yourself whether or not my opinion on that is warranted. Regardless, this story of "the little elephant that could" is one that's stood the test of time for a reason: Just about everybody can relate to poor little Dumbo and his journey of hope.
Although a "live action" retelling, the visual effects in this modern film are stunning and seamless. Always a Burton strength, in this version of Dumbo you really will believe an elephant can fly! But Burton's greatest work is in assembling a cast with such strong abilities. From newcomers like Nico Parker (Milly Farrier) and Finley Hobbins (Joe Farrier) to wily old veterans like Michael Keaton (V.A. Vandevere) and Danny DeVito (Max Medici), these performers keep the dreamlike Burton grounded a bit in reality, and make his vision entertaining for viewers. (DeVito is especially is fun to watch.)
With themes of family, bullying, and diversity, this live action Dumbo should spark interesting conversations after the show as well.
Bonus features on the Blu-ray edition of Dumbo include:
Dumbo’s cast share their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
BUILT TO AMAZE
Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
• Roustabout Rufus
• Pachyderm Plans
• The Other Medici Brother
• Monkey Business
• A Star Is Born
• Where’s Dumbo
• Elephant Heist
• A Seat at the Show
EASTER EGGS ON PARADE
Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumbo in this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
Visual video performed by Arcade Fire
Discover more on Disney’s Social Media outlets for Dumbo:
• Facebook: Facebook.com/DisneyDumbo
• Website: Movies.Disney.com/dumbo-2019
• Twitter: Twitter.com/Dumbo
• Instagram: Instagram.com/Dumbo
Let's Talk About It
Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:
• What did you like best about Dumbo? Why?
• What advice do you think Dumbo would give us about bullying?
• In your opinion, what part does faith play in this film? Explain.
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