Disney’s new live-action Dumbo film lacks any inclusion of live musical numbers, vivacious talking animals or even a strong resemblance to the animated version of the story many of us grew up with.
And yet it still manages to conjure up moments of utter magic.
Dumbo is the latest project to hit Australian cinemas this week, fresh off Disney’s animation to live-action conveyor belt and following in the footsteps of 2015’s Cinderella and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast, while also paving the way for the highly anticipated release of Aladdin which will premiere later this year.
It might be unfair to say this, given that Dumbo has the advantage of featuring perhaps the most loveable protagonist ever committed to screen with its namesake baby elephant star, but so far it is the most emotionally compelling entry in Disney’s new range of movie offerings.
In a winning creative decision, director Tim Burton and the Disney team have taken the basic premise of the beloved 1941 animation – the tale of a shy baby elephant named Dumbo who is born with enormous ears, separated from his mother and left to fend for himself in a travelling circus – and fleshed it out into a more detailed and action-packed big screen offering.
In this new version of Dumbo, Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns to find the once lavish circus he called home is now a poor shell of its former self and his two children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) mourning the death of their mother and uncertain of their future.