Movie Review: ‘Dumbo’ Flies, But Doesn’t Soar

Out of all the crop of Disney remakes in the last few years, this is probably the one that suffers the most from an extended running time. Not because it makes it a bad movie or wears out it’s welcome, but because a lot of the time that is filled gets filled with the wrong stuff. A little extra time with Dumbo and the kids would have gone a long way. Instead, we get extra time with Keaton and Devito as a couple of greedy entrepreneurs. That’s not the stuff of wonder Mr. Burton. 

Still, despite some issues along the way, Tim Burton has crafted his most accessible work to date. This may seem like a mixed bag for some, but I believe most families are going to enjoy it. I know my four year old had a great big smile for a large portion of the running time. And that’s because Dumbo is one of the cutest creations to grace the silver screen in quite some time. Watching him dance his little head to an elephant bubble show is impossible not to smile at. 

The story here is pretty much the same. Dumbo is a special elephant, with great big ears that help him to fly. However, all he cares about is getting his mother back and that’s the driving force of the plot. Sadly, there are lots of corporate plot mechanics about corruption of big business and carnie life. Some of it is entertaining and poignant, but mostly it’s a dull affair. Luckily, the good parts outweigh the bad. It also helps that Colin Farrell and Eva Green give sweet enough performances in the lead human roles. 

So, while this is not going to be remembered as top tier Disney, it is certainly an enjoyable flick. Dumbo is adorable and when he takes flight you will feel a sense of brief wonder. Now, I can’t recommend you go run out to see it on the biggest screen possible or anything, but it’s worth a matinee screening or a rental in a few months. 

Nathan Ligon

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