HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
Space Sheriff Gavan: The Movie
Fireworks, Should We See It from the Side or the Bottom?
   
 
Newest Articles
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
   
 
  Dumbo Cheers, Big Ears
Year: 2019
Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Nico Parker, Finlay Hobbins, Roshan Seth, Lars Eidinger, Deobia Oparei, Joseph Gatt, Miguel Muñoz Segura, Zenaida Alcalde, Douglas Reith, Phil Zimmerman, Sharon Rooney, Frank Bourke
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: The Medici Brothers Travelling Circus has taken a few knocks recently. With the Great War now over, the owner, Max (Danny DeVito), has seen his profits slide since many of his biggest attractions either had to leave or have been killed in the conflict. One returns, however, and he is Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), though he is not entirely intact, having lost an arm over in Europe and unlikely, it seems to Max, to be able to take up his horseriding act again. Holt's children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finlay Hobbins) are unsure how to take to their father, especially as their mother passed away of Spanish Flu, but their grief is distracted by the arrival of a certain baby elephant...

And no ordinary elephant, for this was the Disney animated classic Dumbo reimagined as a superhero movie - with the title character as the superpowered protagonist. In the original, the grand finale was where he spread his outsize ears and took to the skies, but apparently judging twenty-first century audiences were less patient he flew far earlier, in fact the plot of the source material was compressed into the first half hour, leaving the rest of the time to focus on what happened to Dumbo once his talent had been discovered, though the cynical could observe this was rewritten extensively because nobody wanted to shoot scenes with the crows as before.

The crows were problematic, as despite being thoroughly sympathetic and instrumental in Dumbo's happy ending, they had a minstrel-style stereotypical edge to them, therefore they were nowhere to be seen in this loose remake. Mind you, none of the animals spoke here as they had done in the forties incarnation, so human characters were necessary to keep the narrative puttering along, but that plotline seemed to have been influenced by one of the most widely-seen documentaries of the day, Blackfish, which detailed the abuses of trained killer whales in ocean parks, supposedly a fun day out for tourists yet anything but for the animals forced to sing for their suppers (of fish).

Fair enough, you may think this Tim Burton envisaging of Dumbo was basically Free Willy with an elephant, but there was a lot criticising the sort of business that makes a lot of money out of training and displaying animals which at least would be happier roaming a safari park or better, a national park rather than either cooped up or doing tricks, as those poor whales were. So this reimagining was an animal rights protest movie, not what you would have expected from Disney which was generally fairly conservative, but Burton truly committed to his theme, going as far as using as much CGI animation to craft his animal cast as possible, therefore Dumbo was not a real baby elephant sporting huge ears stuck to the side of its head, it was as much a cartoon as the original, not quite realistic at that.

Burton was reunited with human performers who might count as some of his regulars, with DeVito as the initially shady-seeming but eventually on the level Medici, Michael Keaton as a P.T. Barnum type apparently included to illustrate precisely how manipulative and corrupt the real Barnum could be as an antidote to The Greatest Showman, and Eva Green as one of his trapeze artist stars who is ordered to ride Dumbo as part of a new act at the biggest circus around. The baby pachyderm (who never grows up at all, despite us following him for some months) finds inspiration to fly whenever he sucks up a feather in his trunk, a curious addition that was an awkward plot device to prevent him presumably flying off in search of his absent mother himself. Burton was rarely too far away from the Gothic, and if you could get a Gothic circus this was it, with nods to The Greatest Show on Earth into the bargain, though the colour palette was muted to make it look as if it all hailed from a hundred years before. Thematically bold, then, but it was questionable whether its inspiration was able to carry those themes, though it was good to see a Disney remake that wasn't a straight copy. Music by Danny Elfman, with the songs barely alluded to.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 741 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Tim Burton  (1958 - )

American director, producer and writer, frequently of Gothic flavoured fantasy who has acquired a cult following in spite of the huge mainstream success of many of his projects. He began as an animator at Disney, who allowed him to work on his own projects while animating the likes of The Fox and the Hound, which garnered the attention of Paul Reubens to direct Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Next up was supernatural comedy Beetle Juice, leading to the massively hyped Batman and Batman Returns; in the middle was a more personal project, the melancholy Edward Scissorhands. Ed Wood was a biopic of the world's worst director, a flop with a loyal following, Mars Attacks was an alien invasion spoof that got lost in the Independence Day publicity, and Burton ended the 1990s with hit horror Sleepy Hollow.

The 2000s saw the poorly received Planet of the Apes remake, but Big Fish, a father and son tale more personal to the director fared better. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was unsatisfying, but a success, and Sweeney Todd was another collaboration with frequent leading man Johnny Depp. Burton hasn't turned his back on animation, mind you, with both The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride fast becoming cult favourites.

A reimagining of Alice in Wonderland rewarded him with a further hit, though again reaction was mixed, as it was with horror soap adaptation Dark Shadows and animated update Frankenweenie. He returned to biopic territory with Big Eyes, then next was young adult fantasy Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and one of those Disney juggernauts, the live action remake of Dumbo.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: