Dumbo, the animated 1941 Disney classic, gets the Tim Burton treatment in this live-action remake starring Colin Farrell and Danny Devito.... More

Circus owner Max Medici (DeVito) enlists Holt Farrier (Farrell) and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes a comeback, attracting entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits Dumbo for his newest venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green, Casino Royale), until Holt learns that Dreamland is full of dark secrets.Hide

Flicks Review

Reunited with his Batman Returns stars Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, director Tim Burton delivers his best family movie in ages, with a live-action meets CGI reworking of Disney’s 1941 animated classic. Dropping the original’s overt racism and animal cruelty, this Dumbo delivers wholesome family fare, in an uncynically old-time tale of how, if you believe in yourself, and never judge a book by its cover, working together we can achieve anything. Colin Farrell plays Holt, an injured soldier, returning from WWI, reunited with his two children and the travelling circus he used to headline with his late wife. Finding the circus on the skids and his horse act sold, Holt is offered the role of elephant keeper by owner, Max Medici (Danny DeVito), who introduces him to Mrs Jumbo, mother of a baby with ears so big, he’s given the derisive nickname Dumbo. But, as Holt says, “What can you tell by appearances?”... More

With the help of Holt’s kids, Dumbo finds his place in the circus, attracting the greedy attention of Michael Keaton’s oily entrepreneur, V. A. Vandevere, who lures the circus family over to his Dreamland theme-park, (which, when the letter “D” drops off the sign, might be director Tim Burton’s cheeky aside to the film’s producers). As you’d expect, the art direction is first-rate, and the Dumbo look so good that when Keaton’s villainous Vandevere first sees Dumbo fly he’s rapt, telling Holt, “You’ve made me a child again.”

Whilst a creaky, repetitive script and flat characterisations fail to inspire much awe, there’s plenty of family fun to be had along the way, featuring respectful nods to the original (including the pink elephant parade, this time without alcohol involved), sad scenes, spectacle, slapstick, and laughs, including a scene in which an incredulous Keaton asks DeVito: “Is that a monkey in your drawer?” De Vito is delightful, Keaton has a blast as the bad guy, Eva Green does what she can in a severely underwritten role, and Alan Arkin appears briefly as a banker. The film is let down by the flat performances of the youngsters playing Holt’s children, and some painfully dire actors in small roles, particularly one Dreamland controller in the last act, who warns Keaton against flipping switches with about as much conviction as a biologist explaining the aerodynamic properties of pachyderms.Hide

The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 9 ratings, 6 reviews
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BY MariaC superstar

I wasn't sure about seeing a movie like this but I really enjoyed it, the cast was very good and the fact that it held 80% of my 3 year old's attention, I would recommend it for children over 3. A little bit loud in places (for children).... The elephant was pretty cute, as was Colin Farrell :D

BY Reichan nobody

As with all classic Disney movies, Dumbo was heartwarming and inspiring, and absolutely tugs at your heartstrings as you go along with their adventures. I was a little skeptical of this movie when I heard about the release- in my experience, live action adaptations of animated movies are hard pressed to turn out well, and I was never a huge fan of Dumbo to be entirely honest, so I was taken by surprise by how much I enjoyed this movie. I went to see it with my parents, and they both really... More enjoyed it too, so it definitely suits a wide range of ages (and Disney fan or no, you'll probably enjoy it too)! The graphics in this were amazing, everything looked realistic (apart from Dumbo with its baby blue eyes, but even so, realistic enough to not make me cringe), which is a big plus as it really adds to the experience. Disney has an incredible way of making you feel like a child again, staring tat wonder with their creations, and it's no different with this movie.Hide

I kept imaging that Colin Farrell was drunk, and also whether Rhea Perlman would ever visit Danny Devito on set. I also couldn't sleep until 2am because I ate a whole bag of M&Ms. But I did like when Dumbo flew around via the power of his ears, that was pretty good!!!!

A classic heart felt Disney movie that takes you on a roller-coaster of emotions. With an overly exaggerated love for a computerized elephant trying to find his feet in the world, or should we say; ears! A classic tale of try, fail and try again, with the ultimate ending of success. A very predictable linear with the classic happy ending. The motion graphics were good until it came to Colin Farrell's 'missing arm' which seemed to have no real relevance to the narrative or his character, other... More than a soldier returning from war and scaring his children with the concept. Also when it comes to characters, you have the classic good guys vs. bad guys, but there seems to be a lost angle on the dead mother, and as a viewer you are left wondering what happened to her. The emphasis of the movie was obviously focusing around the idea of the flying elephant, although I would have liked to have seen Disney tackle the area around animal cruelty more in depth, given how far we have come in society, and the values Disney embed into children. Overall a fun, family film that's entertaining to the eye and pulls on the heart strings.Hide

Tim Burton's live take on Dumbo still manages to pull at the heartstrings of the young and young at heart with good performances from former (Penguin) Devito and (Batman) Keaton alongside the captivating eyes of the animated Dumbo which makes the whole story relatable.

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The Press Reviews

  • Is 'Dumbo' a fully-fleshed-out film with basic components like character arcs or conflict? Not entirely, no. Full Review

  • This live-action re-imagining of Disney's 1941 animated classic may be the sweetest film Tim Burton has ever made. It's also the safest. Full Review

  • With production designer Rick Heinrichs, Burton forsakes his beloved gothic touches for an art deco style that lends it all a Gatsby-esque decadence. Full Review

  • It transforms a miraculous tale into a routine story by weighing it down with a lot of nuts and bolts it didn't need. Full Review

  • This has been painfully de-tusked. Full Review

  • There are thrills and feels but this reimagination of the delightful animation doesn't take flight often enough. Full Review

  • The filmmaker's overstuffed visual imagination and appetite for sinister gloom all but trample the enchantment of a tale that, at heart, is simple and whimsical. Full Review

  • ...despite a few underdeveloped characters and a score that occasionally gushes like a broken mains pipe, Dumbo is a tissue factory worth of sadness dried by a big top of colourful delights. Full Review

  • Even if the story starts to sag a little before the inevitable big finale, just relax and look at the screen. Every frame of this film could be taken home and hung on your wall – it's that pretty. Full Review

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