We have been so excited to see Disney’s latest live-action remake of Dumbo since the first trailer we saw! We were able to see it early to share with you our family DUMBO review!
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Our Family DUMBO Review
We haven’t watched DUMBO since our kids were very young but the story has not been forgotten. We were excited to see that DUMBO was going to be a live-action re-imagining of the 1941 classic animation. DUMBO expands on the classic story with the same theme of celebrating differences and family with a little magic thrown in for fun!
The movie starts off with a struggling circus. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) recently purchased a pregnant elephant with hopes that the baby elephant will draw a new crowd. To his dismay, Dumbo is born with oversized ears, making him and the circus a laughingstock! My kids and I couldn’t really believe people would make fun of the baby elephant this way but it is part of the storyline, so we went with it.
Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) are charged to care for the newborn – to make his oversized ears hidden from all, which obviously didn’t work out very well! The children love the elephant – they emphasize Dumbo’s pain of losing his mom as they too lost their mom – no surprise for a Disney film! They also take to Dumbo because of their lack of comfort and attention from their newly returned from war father. This part of the movie could have been either more developed or dropped as far as I’m concerned.
The beginning of the movie is sad but expected, it is the story of Dumbo. He loses his mom who is sold and taken away after she tries to protect her baby during a performance that led to a fallen tent, death of the mean animal handler (no blood or gory scenes), and the label of “mad elephant”. Soon, the children begin to play a game with Dumbo with a feather – to distract him from his sadness of losing his mom. My kids are teens, so they got it. Younger kids might find this part of the movie disturbing. But, it IS the Dumbo story and couldn’t be taken out for the sake of hurt feelings. If you explain the story to your younger kids beforehand – and how animal trainers are not all bad people, then that should help younger kids understand this portion of the movie better. Even my 12 year old daughter didn’t think the animal trainer should have been killed off – just maybe fired or injured so he couldn’t be an animal trainer anymore…
Once the circus owner finds out that Dumbo really can fly, he becomes the star with star treatment. Now the fun of the movie begins! We love seeing Dumbo smiling and happy! The spirits lift for the children and their dad as well!
It doesn’t take long before the once struggling circus has sold-out crowds! Everyone loves Dumbo.Dumbo quickly gains the interest of wealthy New York amusement park impresario V. A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) who makes a deal with Max Medici to take his entire troupe to Dreamland to perform. It seems exciting to be purchased by a big fancy amusement park. The circus performers are excited to be part of something bigger. It seems very exciting to all.
It seems so exciting for the entire circus although it turns out that V.A. Vandevere can’t be trusted to keep his word. He is the villain of Dumbo, the greedy businessman! Dumbo is the center of attention at Dreamland, he does fly with a little coaxing with a feather although not to the expectations of the investors. However, the scenes of Dumbo flying for the crowd, entertaining young and old is exciting and magical. The story doesn’t end there, too much greed is involved, as well as mishandling of Dumbo’s mom. Without giving away the rest of the story, let’s just say that Dreamland wasn’t all it was made out to be and in the end, destroyed. However, the animals were safe and the people!
Many people have remarked that they are afraid they will cry their eyes out if they go see DUMBO. Don’t worry. Although it starts off sad, you’ll love DUMBO. First of all, you won’t be able to resist Dumbo’s big blue eyes and floppy ears. You will be memorized at how Dumbo takes flight and the connection he has with the children.
“Soaring to New Heights” Featurette | Dumbo
And, there is a happy ending! The circus performers find a new way to be successful – without the use of animals in a human-only circus – although I personally love seeing well-treated animals at the circus. Dumbo is reunited with his mom and live in an amazing place – I won’t spoil the heart-warming ending! I don’t think there is any part of the movie that would make anyone cry…
The entire movie is visually amazing too! Disney did a fantastic job – check out this video as Tim Burton and Michael Keaton talk about how Dumbo was made.
When I think of any circus, I think of a group of a tight-knit group of people. It turns out that is exactly how the cast of DUMBO felt while filing the movie too!
My family gives DUMBO two thumbs up! Your family will love seeing Dumbo take flight! DUMBO is in theaters on Friday, March 29, 2019! Get your tickets now on Fandango!