So, I went and saw that new remake of “Dumbo.” There is no easy way to segue into this, but I have really mixed feelings about this movie.
Everyone remembers “Dumbo” from their childhoods.
Whether you have fond memories of the ending when he flies, or were traumatized when they took his mother away, I would defy you to find a person who has not seen “Dumbo” at least once.
This remake, though, is just about as far away from the original as it can get.
The first half of the movie makes a good amount of references to the original without completely rehashing the story, but once Dumbo starts to fly, everything goes off the rails.
Halfway through the movie we are introduced to a character whom I can only describe as a twisted Walt Disney who buys the entertainment rights to Dumbo and takes him to his theme park.
The story kind of hits a wall at this point until we find out by sheer coincidence that Dumbo’s mother is at the theme park as well, and that they can be together again if they can escape the park with the help of the carnies.
I don’t really know what it is about this movie that just consistently gave me the skeeves.
Maybe it is the amount of time that the movie spends in the circus, and clowns freak me out. Maybe it is all of the imagery of animals being chained up and whipped, which goes back to my issues with the circus.
Maybe it is the fact that this is very obviously a Tim Burton film, and there is just a prevailing sense of melancholy that follows all he touches.
Maybe it is a combination of all of the above. I don’t know, but I can’t help but feel that the movie made me feel the emotions it intended, but I just didn’t enjoy what it was trying to do.
There was just an ineffable quality to “Dumbo” that made me pretty uncomfortable in the theater.
The CGI work is kind of hit-or-miss throughout the whole movie.
Dumbo himself looked great, there is a lot of interaction between him and the human characters of the movie and all of those scenes work just fine.
There are some other parts, though, where it was obvious not as much time and money were put behind the effects.
Case in point is the monkey that travels with the circus, which is very obviously CGI. What boggles my mind is that in 2011 we got “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” with more convincing CGI than this.
It just doesn’t look real, and if I’m being perfectly honest, it reminded me more of the zombie monkey thing from the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” more than it did a real monkey. It’s little things like this that put a bee in my bonnet, because everyone and their brother knows that Disney has more money than God, and could certainly do better work than it is doing on one of these mainstay live action remakes.
Another thing that bugged me was the storyline of one of the main human character’s daughter wanting to be a scientist instead of joining the circus.
This is an absolutely fine message to portray in the movie, and I obviously would be a pretty cold and heartless person if I had an issue with the idea of girls wanting to be scientists.
What I take issue with is how that plot line was shoehorned into the story.
If that had come up more organically, I wouldn’t have an issue with it, but I don’t think that the politics of the issue of women in STEM positions was really something that needed to be brought up in a movie about a flying elephant that took place in the early 1900s.
One thing I was very happy to see left out of this remake was the racist characturatures of the crows and their leader “Jim.”
I am not making this up. Go back and watch a clip of the original cartoon; there is literally a character named “Jim Crow.”
Who is voiced by a white guy.
This has nothing to do with this remake, but I just wanted to point that out.
Man, how in the world was this an acceptable movie for us to watch as kids?
Seeing “Dumbo” in theaters had me constantly asking, “Who asked for this?”
Of all the live action Disney remakes that have been flooding the theaters, this one makes the least sense to me.
This seemed like the sellout cash grab out of the whole bunch to me. I honestly can’t recommend this.
I did not enjoy myself in the theater, and the more I think about it, the more I find that I really didn’t like. But that’s just me. If you’ve been waiting for this for a while don’t let me stop you. I think I’ll just keep waiting for “The Lion King” to come out.