Dumbo 2019: His Ears Aren’t The Only Thing That Flopped

By Jojo Beiza, Staff Writer

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A remake of the classic ‘Dumbo’ hit movie theaters worldwide Fri. Mar. 29. When the classic hit the screens in 1941, it was and still is a very kid friendly, family type of movie. Now, even though it is still considered to be under the family genre, many scenes throughout the whole movie and even the plot itself didn’t seem to be as kid-friendly. Directed by Tim Burton, the new movie did not live up to what I thought it would be. Its rotten tomatoes rating is at 48%, and I think it was an accurate percentage.

I will start off with what was bugging me the whole two hours. The plot totally flipped itself from the classic to the remake. In the original, Dumbos mother is separated from him because she stood up for Dumbo when he was being made fun of for his unusually large ears. The same happens in the remake, but instead, they have Jumbo, Dumbos mother, sold back to her first owner.

In the classic, she is just locked up in a cage all by herself. Secondly, in the original, Dumbo does not discover his talent until the very end of the movie. This is because, throughout the whole movie, he and Timothy Q. Mouth have an adventure of their own. In the recent film, the whole plot revolves around Dumbo finding out he could fly with his ears early on in the movie. Because of this, he is then basically kept captive by the circus leader, Vandemere, who is played by Michael Keaton. At this point, it differs so much from the classic I don’t even think it should be called Dumbo.

One thing that nudged me in the wrong direction before I even saw it was how it was “real life”. In the classic, Thomas Q. Mouse and a handful of other animals were able to talk. Although Dumbo did not speak a single word in the classic, the other animals did. In the remake, all the animals were obviously made to look as realistic as possible. With that comes animals who can’t speak, since that is the reality. In addition, this meant more, if not all, screen time was for the actual humans playing the roles. For a movie that’s supposed to focus on animals, there were far too many scenes with just humans. One actor, in particular, Danny DeVito, did not impress me what so ever– as he has in other movies. To some, this may be what they enjoy, but it was just too different from the classic for me to even enjoy.

At the beginning of the film, we meet Holt Farrier. Farrier was a World War 1 veteran. Unfortunately, he had his left arm amputated. Therefore, he returned home to his two children Milly and Joe. Hired to take care of Dumbo by Medici ( DeVito), he and his two children are really the three stars of the whole film. While Holt is trying to maintain the elephants, which include Jumbo, one of the circus workers who doesn’t like Holt, tries to make his job difficult for him. As Jumbo as his target, he begins to bother and irritate the mother of Dumbo. As a consequence, she unintentionally tips over a huge column that falls on the worker, leaving him dead. Although not an important or main character, this is still a death. In the classic, nobody died. I think this is it too dark for children to be watching, especially if they’ve watched the original movie.

All in all, I give this movie a 5/10. I think the only reason why I still somewhat enjoyed this movie is that Dumbo is a childhood favorite for me. Many, many changes were made to this film, but the goal of Dumbo trying to get to his mother stayed the same, and that I loved.