Dumbo: Flapping his ears, adorable mammalian flies its way into our hearts

March 28-2019
Review: Flapping his ears, adorable mammalian, Dumbo, flies his way into our hearts

“It is like man’s vanity and impertinence to call an animal dumb because it is dumb to his dull perceptions.”- Mark Twain

Dumbo, the latest Tim Burton’s American fantasy adventure film’s main protagonist is the innocent-eyed cute faced baby elephant, erroneously earned the name Dumbo from the audience at the circus.

Starring Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, and follows a family that works at a failing circus, Dumbo is among the number of animated movies that Disney is giving a live-action makeover like Jungle Book, The Lion King, Aladdin, Mulan, The Sword in the Stone and so on.

The movie is inspired by Walt Disney’s 1941 animated film of the same name, itself based on the novel by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl. The story unlocks in 1919 exactly like the children’s book at a circus and the lives around it. Burton introduces the characters and sets the quaint scene with an unearthly pale palette where the circus owner Max Medici, a heartless ringmaster supervises over the circus’ busily milling, child-friendly freaks and geeks, clowns, jugglers and magicians. Disney’s simplest, sweetest heart-tugging character Dumbo, which reveals the story of a wee circus where he is known for its floppy ears which enable him to fly.

Like the original, this Dumbo doesn’t speak however with the magic of computer-generated sound you might feel that Dumbo is calling its mother as ‘mum’. This is why Burton focuses on his unnaturally large, expressive eyes. Also, he’s an Indian elephant, as his trunk has one searching finger. Those eyes moisten a lot, when he feels amazed, surprised, lonely, sad and miss his mother and friends  ( including the children Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins) who comfort Dumbo after his protective mom Mrs. Jumbo is sent to elephant exile by the ringmaster for money.

Farrell enters as Holt, a big-tent trick rider turned disabled in World War I veteran. The mourning story of the rider picks up the pace when baby Dumbo arrives in a makeshift birthing bed. Now a digital cutie with gargantuan ears that hang off each side of his head like heavy leather curtains, the newest, littlest circus addition is conspicuously more animal than his childlike predecessor. The initial appearance of Dumbo has made the ringmaster disappointed as he finds him useless and will not have the quality to impress the circus audience. And thus the baby Jumbo gets the name Dumbo out of circus humiliation fiasco.

In the meantime, the kids build a bond with Dumbo by teaching him to fly, cajoling him with a feather which he snuffles into his trunk and as he sneezes the exhalation sends him up kicking off the ground flapping his ears. When he finally achieves genuine liftoff, soaring around the interior of the circus’s one-ring tent the fun fled around the ringmaster to the audience and that’s how the movie took the pace with Dumbo’s fame.

Portraying all the scenario signifies that the movie contains a lot of  VFX which include the creation of the baby Dumbo, his ears, his computer-generated voice, flappy ears and obviously the glitz and glam of the circus. The visual effects of the movie were provided by Moving Picture Company, Framestore and Rise FX supervised by Patrick Ledda, Richard Hoover, Jonathan Weber and Richard Stammers. The film is produced by Hal Couzens with the help of Rising Sun Pictures and Rodeo FX. Title designer Matt Curtis is behind the opening titles for Dumbo, marking his first collaboration with Disney since Around the World in 80 Days.

Human beings are the secondary attractions in the 1941 movie (its animals are people proxies) but they crowd the remake and it centers around their selfishness, inhumanness of the crowd hampering the bonds between the mother and baby elephant. Also how sooner the attitude of human shifts for money has also shown in the movie on one hand they call baby elephant useless dumb creature with flappy ears on the other hand as they find Dumbo’s flying ability can bring more business they started pampering him treating him like prince without understanding the one thing that is Dumbo only needs his mother above anything else.

When the mass discovers the news that Dumbo can fly, persuasive entrepreneur V. A. Vandevere and aerial artist Colette Marchant swoop in to make the peculiar pachyderm a star for Vandevere’s circus in Dreamland. Vandevere is a ruthless and enigmatic entrepreneur who buys Medici’s circus to exploit the titular elephant for Dreamland. Later Holt and the kids realise that behind the shiny exterior, Dreamland is full of dark secrets and they escape with Dumb sending him along with his mother to the forest paradise where they actually belong.

Overall the movie was quite gripping with amazing VFX and the CG works. Dialogue delivery of the actors are quite impressing along with the CG expression of the Dumbo will make the audience believe that they are living in a world where the flying elephant Dumbo really exists. The movie is available in 2D and 3D, although 3D experience is much more realistic. The movie ties the audience in an emotional bond keeping them glued to their seats. The crux of the movie is that “the very things that held you down are gonna carry you up and up and up!” Therefore, embrace the power that one is born with, as it will take one to the whole new level in life.