I wish I could say I remember the 1941 animated original, but I was far too young in the early 90s when I watched Dumbo. I do remember it was a tearjerker though, and strangely uplifting at the same time. Tim Burton’s live-action remake certainly isn’t as heartbreaking, but it’s still an uplifting piece of entertainment that’s light and amusing.
First and foremast, it’s reassuring that the star of the film, Dumbo, is brought to life with such stunning CGI. The visuals are so believable, that you never once question the adorable elephant with the big floppy ears. If you can catch the film in IMAX 3D, be sure to do so because that only amplifies the immersive feel of the film.
The cinematography and set design is also spectacular. Tim Burton is certainly responsible for some memorable imagery across the decades, and he imbues the film’s visuals with some truly gorgeous sights. The colorful sets and dazzling circus feats are a true feast for the senses in every way. Coupled with Danny Elfman’s magical and rousing musical score, and you’ve got yourself a memorable treat that’s skillfully put together.
As for the actual cast, Colin Farrell is good but unremarkable as the cliché good boy at the center of the story. Certainly more impressive is the charismatic and seductive Eva Green as a French trapeze artist called Collette. The actress gives off a semi-villainous vibe upon her introduction, which adds a welcome layer to her role as love interest. Danny DeVito is also a charming presence, although Michael Keaton’s villainous turn is far too caricature-ish to my liking. I want to say this is a classic children’s tale and the villains have to be one dimensional and mustache-twirling, but that shouldn’t necessarily be the case in this day and age.
Top-notch CGI and some genuine emotion make for a diverting escapade. It’s nothing groundbreaking, but it’s definitely entertaining.