As an adaptation of a 1941 film, Tim Burton’s feature film is a great one, but as a 2019 production, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
While we can certainly say that Dumbo is the best Tim Burton film in a long time, we cannot certify that it is a proposal that matches what Disney has offered us in recent years. This new real-life film does not contain the magic spark that usually makes Disney’s works the unmissable and classic of the genre.
It must be said that adapting this 64-minute film from the 1940s into a high-profile feature film worthy of the 2019 technology was not an easy task. The story of the original Dumbo was pretty thin. Tim Burton and his team had to add flesh around the bone to make this story exciting. They did the right thing and decided to focus on the destinies of the humans who dot the little elephant’s life. But was that enough?
Actors Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton and Eva Green perform their duties decently, but without much distinction. Only Danny Devito convinces us as the owner of the travelling circus that sees Dumbo born. Some secondary characters stand out, including that of Fort Rongo, who generates heartfelt laughter in wacky scenes that spice up the whole, quite dramatic.
Some cult sequences of the first film were taken up in this new project (including this scene where Dumbo hallucinates pink elephants), but Burton created a lot of original material. We are not surprised by the quality of the artistic direction. The filmmaker is known for the richness of his images and the originality of his aestheticism. Both the travelling circus of Max Medici and the extravagant amusement park of V. A. Vandevere are visually grandiose. The director was conspicuous in his portrait of the «Dreamland» – the future of entertainment – and the result is impeccable and enviable.
With the same quality and precision on the visual level, it would have been hoped that the animals created in computer-generated images would get the same neat treatment. Unfortunately, the product is uneven at that level. In general, little Dumbo is quite cute and quite successful, but some plans leave us perplexed. The same goes for other animals that don’t mystify us as much as those in the 2016 Jungle Book.
We would have liked Dumbo to move us up to the level of his feelings, unfortunately, we are not as excited as we had hoped. At the risk of repeating ourselves: this film lacks magic. On the other hand, it is a competent and inventive work which, from a more rational than emotional point of view, delivers the goods. As an adaptation of a 1941 film, Tim Burton’s feature film is a great one, but as a 2019 production, it’s a bit of a disappointment.
Discover here 10 anecdotes about the film, which will teach you more about this sumptuous production.