<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Apr 7, 2019


dumbo and his two kiddie friends

‘DUMBO’ was a children’s book written by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl in 1939. Disney bought the rights and first made it into a cartoon film in 1941.  Now, after 78 years, they come up with the live action version, just like “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast”. After this will come more live action versions of animated films, like “Aladdin”, “The Lion King”, “The Little Mermaid” and “Lilo & Stitch”.

The animated version of “Dumbo” ran for only about an hour, the new one is nearly two hours, so they have to make a lot of changes by introducing new characters and more situations to beef up the running time.

It is directed by Tim Burton who did such modern but weird fantasy classics as “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands”. His imprint as a filmmaker is very obvious in the movie’s second half that happens in a glossy theme or amusement park called Dreamland.

Burton tones down his usual dark and edgy overtones to make this a safe and wholesome family for the family. The story is set in 1918 after World War I. A traveling circus, called the Medici Brothers Circus, owned by Max Medici (Danny Devito), travels around the American countryside to entertain the masses with their retinue of freaky performers and animals.

Two children, Milly (Nico Parker, who looks like her real mom, actress Thandie Newton) and Joe (Finlay Hobbins), have earlier lost their mother and are now reunited with their soldier dad, Holt (Colin Farrell), a veteran who returned from the war with one arm missing.

He was once a star attraction as a dashing horseman, but now, he gets a job in the circus as an elephant wrangler. Their resident elephant, Jumbo, gives birth to a baby elephant who has large, long ears.

Disappointed by the new elephant’s freakish appearance, Max returns the mother elephant to its former owner. Milly and Joe take care of the baby elephant and finds out that he can fly using his oversized flappy ears when his nose is stimulated by a feather.

Max then makes Dumbo the star attraction of his circus and this make the elephant a nationwide sensation, attracting the attention of a big-time impresario, Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who gets Dumbo and pairs him with his acrobatic trapeze artist, Colette (Eva Green), in his new amusement park whose rides and attractions are very modern for 1918.

“Dumbo” finds its heart and emotions in the friendship between the elephant and the two kids who help him return to his mother. There’s an added touching element in the relationship of the two kids with their long absent father who wants to reconnect with them after serving in the war. The animals, led by Dumbo, are obviously computer generated creations but they look so adorably real.

Colin Farrell manages to be quite touching as the armless dad who still wants to be useful. Michael Keaton, with a blonde hairpiece, is properly repulsive as the villain. It’s nice to see Allan Arkin acting once again (we’ll never forget him as the deaf mute lead actor in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”) as the impatient millionaire investor capitalist in the theme park looks like he’s out of place in the film.

It’s the kids who have the bigger roles among the human characters and Nico Parker (daughter of actress Thandie Newton) delivers a winning and more noticeable performance as the spunky Milly.