MOVIE REVIEW: Dumbo (1941)

It’s hard to imagine a generation, still alive today, that hasn’t grown up with Disney in some way or another. For most of those of us who run Victims and Villains, we grew up in the renaissance of Disney’s re-awakening. With films like The Lion King, Aladdin & The Little Mermaid. We also had the advantage of being introduced to films that our parents, and even grandparents, grew up on. Films like Robin Hood, Pinocchio, Cinderella, and of course, Dumbo.


1941’s Dumbo tells the story of an elephant, marked a circus freak – due to a birth defect, and his journey to discover himself. Even with viewers being 77 years removed, the animation still holds up. There is a sense of depth and richness found. It’s as if viewers are watching every brush stroke of the artist unfold between frames. The art carries a good portion of this film. Continuously growing with every emotion that film pours out. Not to mention, this film has some truly gorgeous animation sequences that are truly out of this world. The pink elephants and opening title sequences are some true scene stealers for the movie. With a film that contains little to no dialogue, the animators are relied on heavily to convey the emotions of its subjects. The animators quite effectively pull this off.

Animation aside, though, this film seriously suffers. I can’t help but to think Dumbo maybe a product of it’s time with its’ subtle hints at racism and it’s short runtime. There are portions of the film that feel so choked by its’ limitations. The first two acts of the film feel adequate for the most part. Some pacing issues exist here and there, but mostly it’s a solidly build story. Though, the arc with Jumbo, Dumbo’s mother, feels so odd. We’re presented with this arc, this relationship and this character but somehow around the film’s second act – it just becomes a piece of the film we mention in passing. As do a lot of the film’s moments.


The pacing issues kick high gear really quickly with the last act. Even with some of its’ issues, the pacing is never really a problem for most of the film. Though, when we are introduced to the crows – this is where the pacing seems to rush so quickly. Like the filmmakers and animators didn’t know how to end it or ran out of time or money and we got stuck with a very muddled ending.

Overall, Dumbo (1941), is an animated classic. Presenting a rich and deep animation palette that takes viewers all of its’ road – Dumbo lives up to the Disney legacy. Though, it does fall short when you are discussing some of the details of the film. The pacing of the film, especially its final act, make this film a bit less than desirable at times. Dumbo may be able to fly but it’s not always like he’s soaring.


two and a half.png

And more importantly, if you or someone you know is struggling with suicide, addiction, self-harm or depression - please free feel to reach out. Use any our resources, call the suicide lifeline (1-800-273-8255) or text 741-741. 

Credits: Dumbo (1941) 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.