That’s why the “Dumbo” remake doesn’t come close to the original!
From Stefan Bröhl
UNITED STATES – No chance! Disney’s remake of the timeless cartoon classic “Dumbo” from 1941 does not match the charm and quality of the original.
Cult director Tim Burton (Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands, Alice in Wonderland) is staging an almost completely new story that still remembers the classic and bows down several times, but goes its own way – which is to be approved .
But emotionally, the star-studded film does not manage to completely sweep the audience away, which is also due to the fact that the film is told from the perspective of the people.
Because the “Medici Bros” circus was fighting for survival in the USA in 1919. The audience already knows the sensations, which is why director Max Medici (Danny DeVito) is desperately looking for a new attraction.
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When his longtime colleague Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns from the First World War, Max is just as shocked as Holt’s children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), because Farrier only has one arm!
Max then reveals to his loyal colleague that he has bought a heavily pregnant female elephant named Jumbo. When she gives birth to her son Jumbo Junior, the quick-tempered director is not at all enthusiastic: what kind of ears are those?
He tells his assistant and strong man Rongo (Deobia Opare) to demand his money back from the salesman Hans Brugelbecker (Lars Eidinger).
At that time, however, he had no idea that Jumbo Junior will soon become Dumbo, who can fly and attracts people like VA Vandevere (Michael Keaton) and Colette Marchant (Eva Green) …
This story differs significantly from the original and, with a running time of 122 minutes, is almost twice as long as the 63-minute cartoon.
The biggest change the makers have decided to make is to let Dumbo only play a (larger) supporting role himself.
In addition, many other popular characters from the original, such as the smart Timothy Q. Maus or the storks, have only been given mini-rolls. Some others like the ravens don’t even appear. Another innovation is that none of the animals can speak.
Disney fans and fans of the original should prepare for all of this beforehand in order not to experience any negative surprises. The makers are not to be blamed for a lack of courage, but their decision is likely to polarize people. In doing so, viewers and critics should get away from comparing the cartoon classic and the remake, because they are two separate works.
Unfortunately it has to be stated that the remake of “Dumbo” comes across as too smooth in places. Burton’s own furious style only flashes in a few scenes.
For example, when the audience is kidnapped into the magically designed and equipped “Dreamland”, the recognition value is high.
The special effects, on the other hand, are surprisingly mixed. Dumbo’s air shows sometimes look out of round, and the lighting has been reworked several times and is therefore unnatural.
As if that weren’t enough, the facial expressions of the animals are a class worse than it was in the “Oscar” winner “The Jungle Book”. With Dumbo himself more effort was made, but he is not completely convincing in terms of the effects.
This clear criticism of society and capitalism at the expense of humanity creates strong and profound moments, of which there are also several in the rest of the film.
The contrasting moments in the amusement park are the strongest of the entire film. Because here the typical Disney depth and complexity is achieved, which otherwise sometimes falls by the wayside in some places.
But the strong camera work, the varied, excellently equipped locations, the time-shifting costumes, the first-class make-up and also the acting skills are convincing.
Especially the two child actors Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins manage to ground the film and give the viewer a friendly introduction.
But well-known names like Colin Farrell (Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them), Danny DeVito (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest) “Bond” -Girl Eva Green (Kingdom of Heaven) ensure that you are with timing, expressiveness and charm who likes to follow the sometimes bumpy dramaturgy.
“Dumbo” is one overall good movie become. For a work by Disney, however, Burton’s remake is a slight disappointment that never comes close to the charm and magic of the great classic drawing because the story is simply not completely emotionally engaging. The socially critical moments and the high moral standards ensure, with small cutbacks, that the cinema is entertaining.
Cover photo: PR / Disney