DVD REVIEW: Disney’s dark, interesting live-action Dumbo hits store shelves


Author’s Note: This review was previously published during Dumbo’s theatrical run this spring, and is being re-run with notes about the BluRay’s visuals, audio and special features.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo as an eccentric, wondrous film, with all the quirks and idiosyncrasies of its beloved director on display.

It’s at once a family film and a showcase of Burton at his finest, taking the Disney material and updating it in exciting ways.

However, just because a film is excited doesn’t mean it’s without flaws, and this re-telling of the baby circus elephant with enormous, floppy ears suffers from an incoherent mix of genres and tone.

The good news is Colin Farrell — who plays a war hero who comes home to the circus and begins taming the elephants — is fantastic, and event MC and show boss Danny DeVito gives his most substantial performance in a decade.

In fact, from Alan Arkin to Eva Green and the rest of the cast, it’s wall-to-wall talent.

That is, except for a hammy Michael Keaton in the villain role sporting a comes-and-goes accent. He drags the film down with each scene he appears in.

Despite being an Oscar-nominated actor — and a Burton favourite — this is a severe misfire for the actor.

One can’t help but notice this is a step down from The Jungle Book and Beauty & The Beast adaptations, which is slightly concerning given the place the originals hold in people’s hearts.

This one is far from an injustice for fans of the original film, and the screenplay from Ehren Kruger is a little jumbled.

But Dumbo is cute and diverting enough to keep this picture flying high.

3.5/5 Stars

The visuals, as per usual from Disney, are absolutely flawless in the BluRay/DVD/Digital combo pack, first released June 25, 2019.

There are dazzling special features, from  Circus Spectaculars, where the cast talks about the making of the film, to The Elephant In the Room, which describes how the classic animated elephant was transformed for live action.

With special looks at production and costume design, a plethora of deleted scenes, and so much more, this is a fantastic addition to your collection.


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