RELEASE DATE: March 29, 2019
MPAA RATING: PG (for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language)
Director Tim Burton re-teams with actors Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton (Batman Returns) in a reimagined offering of Disney’s 1941 animated classic, “Dumbo.”
The film, which is visually pleasing and offers some nice homages to the original, centers on circus owner Max Medici (DeVito), his former star performer just back from the war, Holt (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) as they tend to a newly born elephant, son of Jumbo and nicknamed Dumbo due to his oversized ears.
As we know from the story, much as Rudolph ultimately benefits from his red nose, Dumbo benefits from those ears that provide him the gift of flight, which folks initially make fun of but a spectacle from which the circus makes a lot of money, and headlines.
The latter generates the interest of a greedy amusement entrepreneur, V.A. Vandevere (Keaton) who persuades Medici to bring his troupe of carnival performers to work for his mega-amusement park Dreamland, the consequences of which become a nightmare for all involved.
Burton’s go-to composer Danny Elfman provides a fitting musical score, which includes an updated version of the classic “Baby Mine,” written by Frank Churchill and Ned Washington for the 1941 film. This song is among the very few bright spots in the 2019 film, which lacks the heart and soul of the original.
In the hands and vision of Burton, this “Dumbo” is likely too intense for younger children and not entertaining enough for adults who may be yearning to have their heart-strings tugged.