If I were to tell you, you are about to watch a movie starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Alan Arkin, and that movie is directed by no other than Tim Burton, you’d be pretty excited, right? Well, I was…

I wasn’t even expecting that much, to tell you the truth. I was hoping for a nice, simple story about a cute, tiny elephant, with big ears and the ability to fly. Sprinkle some Burton magic dust into it, make it more dream like, and surely you can’t miss, can you…?

Well, Dumbo felt like a… robot. It felts nicely polished, it felt modern, all the actors named above were fine (Michael Keaton might’ve been too cartoony towards the end, and I wasn’t convinced with Colin Farrell’s accent, as he sometimes sounded like a parody) and the CGI was alright, detailed… but so, so lifeless. And that “lifelessness” somehow pierced the entire movie, where there is almost never a dull moment, but it all just feels bland, with no stakes.

Just to prevent any confusion about me being biased, I didn’t grow up watching the original Dumbo (1941), I’ve only seen it this year (2020) for the very first time, so this isn’t me being “harsh” towards this movie because they’ve remade something I grew up with, not at all.

For the entirety of Dumbo, I was asking myself one question: Why would you hire somebody like Tim Burton, an artist who’s “handwriting” is usually all over his movies, where whether you like the films or not, they feel like Tim Burton made them, just not allow him to do it here? Because that is my main complain – this could’ve been directed by any Joe Smith and the movie would’ve looked exactly the same, nothing would’ve been lost. I can only question whether it was Disney who kept Burton on a leash, or whether it was Tim who didn’t want to go all in…? It makes no sense to me at all.

In unrelated news, Nico Parker (daughter of Thandie Newton) seems to have talent and charm after her mum, so I’ll be watching her with interest, hoping there is a new talent on the horizon.

Sorry, if this review feels bland, but I find it hard to write something not bland about this movie, where everything is alright, and nothing stands out. I’d rather have Burton who shoots for the moon and misses, than Burton who seems to have checked out before the digital camera had batteries in.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

That’s all for Dumbo! What did you think? Did you grow up with the original? Let me know!

Until next time,

Luke