Film Review: DUMBO (USA 2019) ***

Dumbo Poster
A young elephant, whose oversized ears enable him to fly, helps save a struggling circus, but when the circus plans a new venture, Dumbo and his friends discover dark secrets beneath its shiny veneer.

Director:

Tim Burton

Writers:

Helen Aberson (novel), Ehren Kruger (screenplay) |1 more credit »

Everyone loves and remembers Disney’s 1941 favourite animated feel-good fantasy, DUMBO.  Dumbo, the baby elephant is born with huge ears that allow him to fly thus becoming the sensation of the circus.  Don’t expect the same with the live action film DUMBO written by Ehran Kruger and directed by Tim Burton.  Burton’s most famous films were BEETLEJUICE, EDWARD SCISSORHANDS and THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS all known for its darkness and nightmarish ideas.  It is not surprising then that Burton’s DUMBO is dark and gloomy. Dumbo rarely smiles, the scenes are mostly dark and the soundtrack is filled with loud and annoying sounds like chimpanzees screening, loud circus music and people yelling rather than talking normally.  Those prone to migraines best stay away from this one.

The films starts on a bleak note where a rundown train carrying the circus that is falling on hard times travel through poverty America.  Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) is returning by train home to his children after the war.  It is revealed that he has lost one arm.  His wife has also passed away from influenza.  Holt is out of a job because circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) sold his horses).  How more gloomy can the plot get?  

More!  Baby Dumbo is born and separated from his mother.  The circus is sold to a conniving entrepreneur, V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton) who is out to make money out of the new sensation of the flying elephant.  Dumbo’s act needs to be polished and creates havoc when Vandevere wants the bank to invest money in his amusement world.

The magic of the original DUMBO emerges only a few times in the movie – mainly when Dumbo soars into the air.  Even then, most of the flight takes place in the enclosed tent and if outside, occurs in the dead of night.

A lighter note is added with the characters of Max Medici and Vandevere’s French girlfriend Colette (Eva Green).  Both have the propensity to do good.  The end up taking Dumbo’s side.  Even the one henchman of Vandevere ordered to kill Dumbo’s mother tells on the deed, and quits his job out of disgust at his boss.  Keaton in full powder-packed make-up, hams up his villainous character to the extreme of being cartoonish.  His love for money ends up his downfall.

Nico Parker as Milly Farrier, Holt’s daughter and Finley Hobbins as Joe, Holt’s son are sufficiently charming reminding audiences that this is supposed to be a family movie.  The other circus performers are just there for show with little much to do except for Miss Atlantis (Sharon Rooney) who does a few mermaid tricks and the snake charmer (Roshan Seth) who gets to utter the magic words “Fly my little one!”

But for whatever is director Burton’s vision for the film, he does effectively capture the gloom of a struggling circus as he does on a world recovery from the war.  His mark is certainly stamped on this movie.

For all that it is worth in terms of gloom vs. feel-good, DUMBO does grab the audience into the adventure of the circus and one does feel sorry for the elephant when his mother is forced to leave him.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NiYVoqBt-8

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Happy Birthday: Tim Burton

timburton.jpgTim Burton

Born: August 25, 1958 in Burbank, California, USA

[genres] “I had never really done something that was more of a horror film, and it’s funny, because those are the kind of movies that I like probably more than any other genre. The script had images in it that I liked .”

Beetle Juice
1988
dir. Tim Burton
starring
Alec Baldwin
Geena Davis
Michael Keaton
BatmanBatman
1989
dir. Burton
starring
Jack Nicholson
Michael Keaton
EDWARD SCISSORHANDSEdward Scissorhands
1990
dir. Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp
Winona Ryder
BATMAN RETURNSBatman Returns
1992
dir. Burton
starring
Michelle Pfeiffer
Danny DeVito
THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMASThe Nightmare Before Christmas
1993
dir. Henry Selick
Starring
Danny Elfman
Chris Sarandon
written by Burton
Ed WoodEd Wood
1994
dir. Burton
starring
Johnny Depp
Martin Landau
SLEEPY HOLLOWSleepy Hollow
1999
dir. Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp
Christina Ricci
BIG FISHBig Fish
2003
dir. Tim Burton
Starring
Ewan McGregor
Albert Finney
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryCharlie and the Chocolate Factory
2005
dir. Tim Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp
Freddie Highmore
SydneyWhiteSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
2007
dir. Burton
Starring
Johnny Depp
Helen Bonham Carter
Alice in Wonderland Movie PosterAlice in Wonderland
dir. Tim Burton
Stars
Mia Wasikowska
Johnny Depp
movie posterPLANET OF THE APES
2001
dir. Tim Burton
Starring:
Mark Wahlberg
Tim Roth
MOVIE POSTERDARK SHADOWS
dir. Tim Burton
Stars:
Johnny Depp
Michelle Pfeiffer
MOVIE POSTERFRANKENWEENIE
dir. Tim Burton
Stars:
Winona Ryder
Catherine O’Hara

DISNEY’S “ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS” PRESS CONFERENCE AND PHOTO CALL

Director James Bobin, producers Tim Burton, Suzanne Todd, stars Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Sacha Baron Cohen from Disney’s “Alice Through The Looking Glass” joined press for tea and a photo call today at the Corinthia Hotel in London.
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Cast: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska, Rhys Ifans with Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen

Voice Cast: Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen, Timothy Spall

Director: James Bobin                            

Producers: Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd, Tim Burton

Executive Producer: John G. Scotti             

Screenplay by: Linda Woolverton

Based on characters created by: Lewis Carroll

OFFICIAL BOILERPLATE:

In Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” an all-new spectacular adventure featuring the unforgettable characters from Lewis Carroll’s beloved stories, Alice returns to the whimsical world of Underland and travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter. Directed by James Bobin, who brings his own unique vision to the spectacular world Tim Burton created on screen in 2010 with “Alice in Wonderland,” the film is written by Linda Woolverton based on characters created by Lewis Carroll and produced by Joe Roth, Suzanne Todd and Jennifer Todd and Tim Burton with John G. Scotti serving as executive producer. “Alice Through the Looking Glass” reunites the all-star cast from the worldwide blockbuster phenomenon, including: Johnny Depp, Anne Hathaway, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter along with the voices of Alan Rickman, Stephen Fry, Michael Sheen and Timothy Spall. We are also introduced to several new characters: Zanik Hightopp (Rhys Ifans), the Mad Hatter’s father and Time himself (Sacha Baron Cohen), a peculiar creature who is part human, part clock. 

                 

Alice Kingsleigh (Wasikowska) has spent the past few years following in her father’s footsteps and sailing the high seas. Upon her return to London, she comes across a magical looking glass and returns to the fantastical realm of Underland and her friends the White Rabbit (Sheen), Absolem (Rickman), the Cheshire Cat (Fry) and the Mad Hatter (Depp), who is not himself. The Hatter has lost his Muchness, so Mirana (Hathaway) sendsAlice on a quest to borrow the Chronosphere, a metallic globe inside the chamber of the Grand Clock which powers all time. Returning to the past, she comes across friends – and enemies – at different points in their lives, and embarks on a perilous race to save the Hatter before time runs out. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, Disney’s “Alice Through the Looking Glass” opens in theatres on May 27, 2016.