New Movie Dumbo Is Not A Remake Film
Dumbo the baby elephant
The new Movie is out. but it did so with less than impressive numbers. The movie performed similarly with critics. The film has received slightly more negative reviews than positive ones, but critics are split almost in half.
Either way, most positive reviews aren’t glowing and most negative ones aren’t too damning. As one of those who had a slightly positive view of Dumbo, I liked so many aspects of it that I wish it was better, and I think it could have been if it had followed its true calling and just been a straight sequel rather than a remake.
If you’ve seen cute big ear elephant, then you know that most of the movie is essentially a sequel already. The events that cover the story of the original animated Dumbo get dispensed with in less than 30 minutes.
Considering that the original movie did it in only slightly more than double that time, it makes sense not to waste too much time with it. Once the baby elephant is discovered to be a flying elephant, the animated film ends, but that’s just the end of Act I for the new movie.
The stuff that’s worthy of praise in Dumbo almost exclusively comes from the latter two-thirds of the movie. You get the utterly insane “Evil Walt Disney” villain played by Michael Keaton. You get Eva Green, who is awesome because she’s Eva Green.
You get Tim Burton’s take on “Pink Elephants on Parade,” which is a thing I didn’t even know I cared about. You get Colin Farrell being “adorable dad,” which is his perfect position in Disney movies.
Dumbo is a new story?
The fact is that while film is certainly a story we all know, unless you’ve seen the film recently, odds are all you really remember about it is, “There’s an elephant that can fly.” That’s actually all you need to know. If you do remember more, you certainly don’t need to see it again.
Imagine if the new movie opened exactly as it did, with Colin Farrell’s Holt Farrier coming back from war, only this time, instead of Danny DeVito‘s Max Medici putting him in charge of the elephants before Dumbo is born, Medici tells Farrier that he’s really happy Farrier is back, because the circus has a new star that needs to be taken care of, and Farrier is just the man to trust with the job.
Dumbo would have benefited greatly by simply committing to being the sequel it largely was anyway. Trying to be both things in order to make fans happy only prevented the film from being its own thing and flying on its own.