Thursday, April 18, 2019     Volume: 20, Issue: 7
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Santa Maria Sun / Film

This weeks review
BINGEABLE: RUSSIAN DOLL
BLAST FROM THE PAST: GODSPELL
BREAKTHROUGH
DUMBO
HEARST CASTLE: BUILDING THE DREAM
HELLBOY
SHAZAM!
THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA
THE MUSTANG
UNDERRATED: THE BATTERED BASTARDS OF BASEBALL
UNPLANNED

DUMBO

PHOTO BY WALT DISNEY STUDIOS

DUMBO


Where is it playing?: Hi-Way Drive-In, Movies Lompoc

What's it rated?: PG

What's it worth?: $ Matinee

User Rating: 0.00 (0 Votes)

This remake of the Disney animated film centers on a struggling circus led by Max Medici (Danny DeVito), who hires former circus star but now wounded war veteran Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) to take care of Dumbo, a small elephant with giant ears that make it a laughingstock. Holt’s children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), discover little Dumbo can fly. Soon ruthless entrepreneur V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) swoops in to make Dumbo a star with the help of French trapeze artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green).

Darn you, Dumbo, trying to tug on my heartstrings when all I want to do is nitpick about your imperfections (the movie’s, not the elephant’s!). It’s hard to hold back tears when the song “Baby Mine” starts playing, as baby Dumbo extends his trunk to reach the barred window of his mother’s cage. The separation of the titular elephant and his mother is at the heart of both the 1941 animated original and this live-action remake from appropriate director Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Big Fish, Alice in Wonderland).

Unlike the original, however, this story centers on brand-new human characters rather than anthropomorphized animals. So don’t expect to see anything on all fours talking, contrary to other recent Disney remakes like The Jungle Book and the upcoming Lion King. Timothy Q. Mouse still makes a fun cameo appearance, but his role as Dumbo’s friend and protector gets transferred over to two human children, Milly and her brother, Joe. The siblings try to convince their father, circus worker Holt Farrier, that Dumbo has the ability to fly.

Of course, he scoffs at the fantastical notion, but can we really blame him? He is a dad in a Disney movie, after all. And as every good Disney parent knows, the first rule of parenting is: Never believe your children, especially when it comes to the supernatural. Second rule: Apologize to them later for not believing after the big “I told you so” moment.

Hiring one of the screenwriters behind three consecutive Transformers movies, Ehren Kruger, to adapt a cartoon about a baby elephant was a bold move. I’d love to have seen this CGI version of Dumbo take down some Decepticons. It’s a really mixed bag, but I still feel like it’s worth seeing on the big screen. There’s enough visual majesty to warrant a theater viewing, despite a thin screenplay.

I’ll probably check out the Blu-ray, too, when it comes out, just in case there’s a deleted scene of Dumbo transforming into a Fiat convertible before duking it out with Megatron and Starscream. Move over Optimus Prime, there’s an elephant in the room, and his name is Dumbo. (112 min.)

—Caleb Wiseblood




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