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  1. Published on: 11/08/2019 04:45 PMReported by: Film Critic
    Plot: The birth of a young elephant with over-sized ears helps a struggling circus.

    2019 is certainly all about the Disney live-action re-makes. This is the first of five (yes, five), and this is a re-make of a film that's pretty special for me.


    Dumbo is the first film I can remember watching and even though it's 78 years a lot, I still feel this is a really good animated feature that I think will still find love in future generations for all time.


    I was partially skeptical with this one, as the original is just about an hour long, I was fearing what additions would they insert into the story and could that ruin the overall plot. Plus, while I think Tim Burton is a pretty good choice as director, it has been a while since he has made a box-office hit. While Big Eyes and Frankenweenie did well critically, they didn't get the box office. So I guess the last one was 2010's Alice In Wonderland (another Disney live-action re-make) which had terrific box-office success.


    I ended up with mixed feelings. The first half I felt really had the magic of the original, paid homage in several scenes that was executed well and had me invested and willing to give it a chance.
    Then the second half started to not only slow everything down but go down routes that I didn't feel were the right ones and weren't even executed well. Thankfully, there was a moment in the second half that pleased me a lot as it was paying homage to an iconic scene from the original that I did not think would work in the re-make. But they pulled it off pretty well. Plus, the ending was sweet enough to have me leaving the cinema enough of a positive skip in my step.


    The acting I felt was pretty solid overall. The highlight being Danny DeVito, who still shows he can give us a memorable showing in a family film. Colin Farrell was an engaging leading presence and continues to fit in well with Disney live-action projects.
    I felt the child actors Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins did a great job and never felt out of place. They constantly felt believable in their roles and looked as if they'd been doing it for years.
    I didn't think much of Michael Keaton. It was perfectly fine. But it did nothing to suggest that his casting was required, except for being a Tim Burton alumni. Speaking of alumni, Eva Green has gradually become the next Helena Bonham Carter in terms of filling in the Tim Burton bingo card. Sadly Green has arrived at the wrong time of Burton's career and so far has not given a memorable contribution in my opinion. Her introduction into this film did not really work for me as was part of sub-plot that I felt was the weakest part of the film. Plus, her accent was very off-putting.


    The big question after seeing any of these live-action re-makes this years will always be 'Did this need to be made?' My answer for this is, not really. The best of the live-action re-makes I feel remain to be The Jungle Book, Cinderella and Christopher Robin.
    At its best was when it basically paid homage to the original and pretty much all of the first half. But when it tried to do something different, it wasn't terrible, it just wasn't that engaging or entertaining.
    Thankfully there is enough in here for me to warrant another viewing. Especially two scenes that will be some of my favourite moments of 2019.
    But the original will always work with any generation, so I would still stick with the animated classic.


    Rating: 7/10
     

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