Walt Disney’s Dumbo, an animated hit that was released in 1941, got its live action screen debut this year on the big screen nearly 78 years later and it’s a winner. Now on Blu-ray and other media for the first time, the film brings all the adventure into your living room. Still with a good measure of CGI, Dumbo tells the same adventurous story, but with some new twists. The message plays out as clear as the original film showing that everyone may not be perfect, but has a place in the world.
Keeping with the original film’s starting format the story begins in Sarasota, Florida, where they are preparing for their travel around the country for their annual Circus season before winter sets in. The show has fallen on hard times the past few years, especially with the war in Europe going on, and fewer people have enough money to attend the shows in the big tent.
Max Medici (Danny DeVito), the circus owner and ringmaster, has purchased a new elephant in hopes of improving the show and possibly paying off the debt he has so he won’t lose his traveling entertainment. What he’s relying on comes as a big surprise in the form of doubling his investment as the new elephant is about to birth a young calf. But, it’s not an ordinary elephant, but one with huge ears. After getting over the young elephants different look, Medici realizes he may have somewhat of a golden opportunity.
In the meantime, at their first stop on their tour, war veteran Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) rejoins the traveling Circus with the loss of his left arm. The former horse master, now handicapped, must find a way to get back to his former greatness. With his Circus performing wife now deceased from an illness, he also finds himself caring for his two children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) who have been working with Max.
When Dumbo gets the attention of the crowd by making use of his big ears, Max sees the possibility of the flying elephant being the event of the year. But, there’s trouble coming his way and will have to do everything he can to save the Circus.
Director Tim Burton brings his show to the big screen and it’s a spectacle of grandeur, emotion and adventure. He keeps his imagination reeling adding a huge set filled with circus workers, performers and animals while playing out a script that’s equal to the original in wonder and excitement. His only pauses are to develop characters who enter his camera frame for the first time, but the flow never gets impeded.
He takes care in showing Dumbo as a meek and likable animal who at first is an oddity, but knowing the audience that’s watching the movie knows the little elephant will overcome what is being placed upon him. Burton uses gobs of CGI to keep Dumbo looking vibrant and fully realistic. He even introduces Timothy Mouse from the original who becomes Dumbo’s friend and conscious to give the show more of the empathy like the animated version.
Even on your home screen not matter how big or small the heart-warming story will bring tears of emotions like the animated version induced. It’s a film that will definitely find a path into the family library to watch over and over again. While there are some scenes in the extended storyline that may get a bit intense, it still keeps the adventure and fantasy entertaining beyond expectations.
Now if the live action The Lion King that will be released on the big screen in July of this year and Lady and the Tramp expected in November can do as well, then Walt Disney Pictures will have given the young and young at heart a good year at the movies.
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:
”Circus Spectaculars”- Dumbo’s cast share their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
“The Elephant in the Room”- Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
“Built to Amaze”- Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
“Deleted Scenes”- A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film. Include “Roustabout Rufus”, “Pachyderm Plans”,
“The Other Medici Brother”, “Monkey Business”, “A Star Is Born”, “Where’s Dumbo”, “Elephant Heist”, and “A Seat at the Show”.
“Easter Eggs on Parade”- Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumbo in this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
“Clowning Around”- Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
“Baby Mine”- Visual video performed by Arcade Fire
“Dreamland” – Anatomy of a Scene: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film. Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.
Dumbo has been rated PG by the MPAA for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language. The film will be released on multi forms of home video on Tuesday June 25th.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good transition from anime to live action. (4 out of 5 stars)
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Roshan Seth, and Alan Arkin
Directed by: Tim Burton
Genre: Family, Fantasy
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for peril/action, some thematic elements, and brief mild language.
Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes
Original Release Date: March 29, 2019
Video Release Date: June 25, 2019
Language: English (changeable to Spanish, French and Descriptive Audio)
Reviewed Format: Blu-ray
Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish or French
Number of Discs: 2 Discs plus Digital Code
Distributed by: Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Released on: Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD