Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Ehren Kruger
Cast: Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Alan Arkin
Distributor: Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG | Minutes: 112
Release Date: March 29, 2019
Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Dumbo (1941) is considered to be one of the greatest hand-drawn films ever to be released by the animation studio. And like most of the studio’s timeless animated features, it got the live-action adaptation treatment.
Tim Burton, who has worked under the Disney banner numerous times before, gets behind the lens once more to direct this new telling of the titular baby elephant who has all of his unique and whimsical signature touches but also still stays true to the tender, sweet, and warm spirit of the animated original. Though some of its bigger stars don’t add any depth to this reimagining, Dumbo himself and the debuts of Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins bring plenty of charm to the film that reminds us about why we love Disney’s favorite baby elephant and what makes outsiders so endearing. My full review blow.
Disney’s 1941 animated feature Dumbo did not have much of a script. The film, which saw the titular pachyderm go off an adventure of a lifetime after he was separated from his mother, explores themes of friendship, tolerance of differences, and self-confidence. So when it was announced that the studio would be releasing an updated version of that with a live-action retelling, they tasked writer Ehren Kruger with expanding upon the original while also making it fresh by adding new themes to it.
At the Dumbo press conference, Kruger spoke about some of the challenges that came with expanding the animated original, which was 60 minutes long, to an updated 100-plus-minute film.
Director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman have collaborated as a directing and scoring duo for at least 17 films, beginning with 1985’s Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. While many would believe that the long working relationship between the two would mean that they know what they want from each other, that wouldn’t be the case, at least, according to Elfman.
After working together on such contemporary favorites like Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands, the two join forces once again for Disney’s Dumbo, a live-action reimagining of Disney’s 1941 animated classic. In it, Colin Ferrell play Holt, a former circus star who finds his life turned upside down when he returns from World War I a changed man and is tasked with taking care of Dumbo, a new baby elephant whose giant ears make him the laughing stock of an already struggling circus. Little do they know that the elephant has a special talent that will not only save their circus, but also attract some persuasive entrepreneurs who will exploit that talent for their own greedy needs.
We were recently invited to sit down with our fellow journalists at the press conference for Dumbo. During that time, Elfman talked about his working relationship with the unpredictable Burton, creating new music inspired by a classic film, and more. Check out what he had to say here below.
It’s been 78 years since Disney’s animated version of Dumbo hit theaters, and now the studio will be releasing its live-action adaptation of the title of the same name later this March. Like many of their hit live-action adaptations of their animated classics, the film will be slightly different from the original. In it, Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for Dumbo, whose talents help the circus make a comeback while also attracting a swindling entrepreneur (Michael Keaton).