The very first trailer for Tim Burton's Dumbo arrived last night, and while watching it something kind of incredible occurred to me: I hardly remember anything about Dumbo. I know it stars an elephant by that name, of course, and I recall that the elephant is able to fly via the help of a feather (or somesuch thing), but beyond that...nothing. Turns out that whatever part of my brain was in charge of storing away Dumbo mythology completely whiffed its one and only job. Thanks a lot, brain.
But here's the good news: not being able to recall anything of consequence about Disney's 1941 animated classic means that I can come to Tim Burton's version with fresh eyes and almost no preconceived notions. Your mileage may vary, of course (I imagine that even suggesting such a thing will rile up the devoted and passionate Dumbo fanbase), but I'm choosing to interpret this as a positive.
Let's take a look.
Alright, I get it - this is Tim Burton in Big Fish mode, with an extra helping of emotional manipulation. Normally I'd say that sort of thing is very much not up my alley, but I said the same thing before Pete's Dragon and ended up loving that movie, even as it destroyed me in the theater.
Anyway, here's an official plot synopsis:
"Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) 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 an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets."
What do you folks think? Into what Tim Burton's doing here? Not so much? Are you a Dumbo purist? How do you feel about all these Disney live-action remakes, and which would you like to see them take on next? Sound off in the comments below, and stay tuned for more on Dumbo as we draw ever closer to the film's March 29th release date.