Tim Burton is an inspired choice to helm this live action update of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo, bringing his eccentric outsider’s perspective to the sometimes weird, oftentimes wonderful story of a flying pachyderm.
Loosely based on the original, the story is framed around a returning WWI vet (Colin Farrell) and his two children, who are tasked with looking after a new addition to a struggling circus – a baby elephant. When it’s discovered the big-eared critter can fly, circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) begins seeing the equivalent of cartoon dollar signs in his eyes, an OTT big city entrepreneur (Michael Keaton) steps in, and it’s off to the big time at his Dreamland amusement park.
As with any Tim Burton film, there’s a darkness lurking behind the scenes, and Dumbo pushes a “big business uses people up” message. And his take also ticks the boxes visually, of course. It’s often mesmerisingly stunning, and although lacking some of the heart and tear-inducing quality of the much loved original, lollops along pleasantly and engagingly enough.
Release Date: July 19, 2019
Format: DVD, Blu-ray, 4K
Starring: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito