An interesting update to the known story, with children being Dumbo’s catalyst to flight. Enjoyable. 7/10.
Movies with Mikey, in the original Lessons Animation Taught Us, spent a fair amount of time talking about the issues (from today’s perspective) that the original Dumbo animated film has. This version also has some issues, albeit different ones. The racism might be gone but, given the setting is just after WW1, treating everyone equally regardless of colour seems just as bad because it’s covering for a shameful time in history. The animal cruelty is still there, and realistic CG makes this even harder for children – there was one literally crying in row behind us during our session. I was angry for much of the film: at choices made in terms of characterisation; the ridiculousness of trying to be “realistic” with animals but create a really unrealistic baby elephant; having the animals react like they understands humans; and I could go on. However, the movie did win me over: some of the story lines were quite moving; some of the dialogue was well-written; the visual nods to the original were cleverly done; the striking similarity of Michael Keaton’s character to the actual Walt Disney (as I first saw mentioned here) was surprising; and the climatic sequence had enough pathos to have me engaged. One of Burton’s better recent endeavours, but still problematic. 5/10.