This week saw a teaser trailer and poster drop for next year’s Dumbo, Disney’s live action remake of their 1941 movie. WoM, a huge Disney fan with a soft spot for the big eared elephant is extremely keen to see it, whereas for me it comes nowhere near troubling my “Films I’m Excited For” lists. Here I’m gonna explain why.
1. Not fussed on the original
When I was a little kid, I got massively upset watching the original film because I hated the way the other characters bullied Dumbo and it made me cry. Because of this I kinda ignored the film until I decided to watch and blog about every Disney Classic (these will resume shortly). I was hesitant, but gave it a rewatch.
I was not impressed. The story is brief and fragmented, and while “Baby Mine” tugs at the heartstrings, the rest of the movie left me cold.
Also, there are clowns. And I hate clowns.
2. Circus as a Family?
One thing I did like about the original, was that it doesn’t paint the circus world in an overly positive light- the animals are caged and bored, the punters are cruel and mock our hero and the carnies are mean and exploitative. And the clowns are jerks.
Therefore it’s a little worrying to see the teaser trailer include some bollocks about the circus being a family.
You can’t make out that Dumbo wants to be there or is happy, circus treatment of animals was horrible and surely the happy ending nowadays should be instead of becoming a circus star, Dumbo should instead fly off to freedom?
Reading the film’s Wikipedia page it looks like we may get Michael Keaton as the villainous moneybags who’s after the flying elephant, with Colin Farrell as the nice guy circus worker and Danny De Vito as his boss. De Vito’s character will probably be put forward as a bit of a rogue, but ultimately good compared to Keaton’s despite both being in the exploiting animals game.
3. Tim Burton
I have serious issues with Tim Burton. He’s one of those frustrating directors who can make great movies but regularly churns out dross. At his best he can craft striking visuals and interesting stories of outcasts and weirdos (Sleepy Hollow, Frankenweenie, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood) but he can also lose himself in art student pretension and almost self parody.
Is he suited to making a kid’s film like Dumbo? Or will his quirks unbalance the whole thing?
4. Disney’s Track Record
Since they decided to start remaking their animated movies Disney have had mixed results. While I loved two of these films (The Jungle Book and Beauty and the Beast), I found Cinderella to be a bit limp and needless, and Maleficent took an imperious and evil villain and added a mopey backstory and turned her into a tragic heroine. Sorry, but it didn’t work for me.
So, will this be a case of creating a film which is both familiar yet individually charming, or a rather pointless remake?
I hate clowns. We don’t need more films featuring clowns.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.