Mini Movie Review (DUMBO)

DUMBO was dark and dreary in overall look and tone, which is typical of director Tim Burton. Apart from some beautiful Art Deco inspired sets and, at the very end, lush jungle imagery, I did not find this movie memorable. Strong emotional connections between the characters were lacking. Eva Green as the leading lady, a French acrobat, was lovely in her feather-filled outfits. But, no-one else stood out as particularly interesting to me, not even Dumbo.

I have seen some impressive, compelling CGI beings up on the big screen, but Dumbo wasn’t one of them. His facial expressions, movements, and twitterings were cute but a very limited repertoire. The whole film smacked of unoriginality, with its stock/two dimensional characters, derivative script writing, and a tired, over-used ending.

6 thoughts on “Mini Movie Review (DUMBO)

  1. I checked out the trailers for this one and was surprised the movie wasn’t better since Tim Burton was the director. My only experience with him was “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and my interest in him had to do more with his having Aspergers. I did notice the lack of emotion and spontaneity in some scenes which seemed forced at times and overdramatized. I do hate to see animals being used for a profit and that may have tinged my opinion overall. Thanks for another great review, Sean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I loved Burton’s THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS and think of that as his best work he’s ever done, though I did very much enjoy EDWARD SCISSORHANDS. There is a good message in DUMBO that animals should not be badly treated, including caged up, for profit. But, the message was dimmed by the way the movie was done. I’m glad you enjoyed my review.

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  2. I remember owning the Little Golden Book, Dumbo. Never saw the film though, which was apparently an attempt by Disney to recoup the financial losses of Fantasia. (I think I didn’t see my first movie in a theatre until I was around 8 years old, and for some reason Dumbo never was played on Sunday night’s Wonderful World of Disney). I hated the book because it made me cry every time I read it and I couldn’t reach into the pages of the book and let poor little Dumbo know I loved him! Thanks for the review! I think I shall give this one a miss.

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    1. I did not know that historical detail about why Disney made DUMBO after losing money from FANTASIA. I think the latter cartoon was ahead of its time, as it did become a classic. I enjoyed the original DUMBO book and movie, though it is rather dated and racist now because of the way some talking, anthropomorphized birds (magpies, I think) are portrayed as stereotyped Southern black men.

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      1. Sadly, so many of the Disney films–especially the older ones–are tarnished by a great variety of “-isms,” especially racism and sexism. Whenever I watch a film or read a book that has these problems, I am saddened because the art of them becomes diminished by their ignorance and/or bigotry, & etc. Same is true for works which in themselves may not reflect these problems, but whose creator’s lives do. Do we dismiss the work because it promotes (sometimes through blind ignorance, sometimes through insideous intention) values we find troublesome or even abhorrent, or do we find ways to compartmentalize those aspects to get to the core? (Of course, some of them have a rotten core after all!) Anyway, relating to art through different lenses is, in some ways I think, like relating to people. We must listen and see and experience with compassionate awareness, then decide whether we want to pursue the relationship more deeply.

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      2. I am able to separate the work of art from its creator. For example, Virginia Woolf was racist and an imperialist/colonialist, going along with a commonly-held belief that England was a “civilizing” influence over so much of the savage, “inferior” world, or so I’ve been told by a friend who has read her work and about her life. Same with Edith Wharton and how she felt about France over its colonies. Yet, they both wrote beautifully about life.

        Then there are the works themselves from great artists that are a mixed bag, such as Shakespeare’s THE MERCHANT OF VENICE. That is one piece of anti-Semitic work if there ever was any, but in that mix are some gems of writing.

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