MOVIE REVIEW: Dumbo (2019)

I recently had someone enter into my place of employment and ask why I have a film reel tattooed on me. If you guys have ever met me at a con, or watched our YouTube channel, you know that I have indeed have a large film reel on my right arm. My answer is simple I love movies. I’m what you call a cinephile. My passion for film began when I was a kid. We had just gotten the world wide web and my grandmother was dying of cancer. This passion into the medium began as a way of escape. Over the course of the last twenty years, Ive developed a palette of favorite filmmakers that I pay close attention. This year’s Dumbo happens to have two of those filmmakers in it: Tim Burton & Michael Keaton.

Tim Burton’s Dumbo tells the story of Max Medici’s circus, played by Danny DeVito, who inherents a baby elephant with massive ears. Unfortunately, this wasn’t what Medici wanted until he found out about his ability to fly. Enter game changer for the dying circus. DeVito isn’t alone in his troop. Returning home from World War I a circus performer, played by Colin Ferrell, discovers a world changed since his departure. Ferrell and DeVito have a really genuine chemistry about them. Viewers can really sense the history between the characters. Ferrell, though, might be the strongest act in this circus’ arsenal. Ferrell’s arc alone is worth the watch. There’s a level of depth that slowly unfolds with the character of Holt. Ferrell beautifully pours himself into the character.


About half way through its duration, we are introduced to Eva Green’s Colette Marchant. Colette is a French trapeze artist who is signed with Michael Keaton’s Dreamland exhibit in New York City. There’s something really stand-offish and wooden about the first introduction to her character. Though as she develops and continues to grow, there’s a natural beauty that unfolds between Holt, his children and Marchant. What’s really beautiful is how natural her character feels. Green is charming and a refreshing element to the circus feature.

Throughout the years, Dumbo has always been regarded as one of the best films in Disney’s animated arsenal. I’ve always kind of had my issues with the movie (you can read more here). A lot of the issues with the original film’s plot really seemed a lot more fleshed out here. Burton’s version is extremely well developed. Burton manages to create a world of wonder and emotion. There are a few shots where Dumbo takes flight and every flight manages to create a warmth within the heart. The journey of Dumbo, himself, is a journey that will evoke tears. It’s a very heart warming and emotional story that Burton presents viewers. All while being set within the confides of beautiful and elaborate set designs. Dumbo is as visually stunning as it is heart warming.

There are a few scenes within the film where the circus is on fire and Dumbo is certainly not without its’ fires. As visually stunning as the film is, some of those elements seem cheapened when viewers get close ups with Green in her act. There’s some thing unfinished and sloppy about the final product. When you’re in a world of wonder, elaborate set pieces, and a beautifully done (and adorable) elephant – those elements are easier to notice. Everything else flows so seemingly well together, with the exception for these scenes.

There are some earlier fires within the film as well. It seems like there is a bit too much setup in the beginning. Had it shaved off 5-10 minutes, this film could be a bit closer to perfection. Though, it’ll never hit perfection with its’ villain. Michael Keaton’s V.A. Vandevere, falls flat on just about every horn imaginable. There is little to no development for this character and his turn as the film’s antagonist feels like a kid who missed his nap. It’s so dramatic and sudden. It almost feels like the screenwriters watched Keaton’s performance in 2017’s The Founder & said let’s make this our villain. Vandevere feels so generic and uninspired. Dumbo could go down as one of Keaton’s worst performances.


Overall, Dumbo (2019), is a world of wonder and emotion. Thanks to the big nature of director, Tim Burton, and strong performances by Colin Ferrell and Eva Green. A visually beautiful world that is filled out with wonder and emotion – Dumbo manages to bring depth to this once two dimensional character. Not without it’s dull acts though. Suffering from some minor CG issues, some unnecessary weight in the beginning, and  a seriously lackluster villain. Dumbo falls a bit short of the wonder it inspires but its’ not without its’ beauty and charm.


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Credits: Dumbo (2019) is property of Disney. We do not own nor claim any rights. Music by Logan McElroy and Shawn Davis. The X-Files are property of Fox. We do not own nor claim any rights. The Flash & Man of Steel are property of Warner Brothers & DC Comics. We do not own nor claim any rights.  Super Smash Bros is property of Nintendo. We do not own nor claim any rights.