3/4

Dumbo [2019] ★★★

Alright, let’s take care of the elephant in the room right away (I’m giggling all alone here but I swear no pun was intended): this live-action version of “Dumbo” was never going to replace the beloved 1941 classic. The old one means so much to me to let any version ruin it. And there’s no denying that Tim Burton’s film is overlong and too reliant on spectacular visual effects at times. That being said, it’s still as sweet as sugarcane. Burton is right at home here, and he has crafted a visually extravagant film and cast it well enough. Danny DeVito is terrific as a circus owner who enlists Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his two kids to take care of a newborn elephant with giant ears (that would be Dumbo, just in case). All the ingredients that made the old film so good are here, and Burton adds his signature touch to it, without ruining the overall result. Only the action climax felt stretched to me, but then, no one in 2019 would dare release a major feature film running 64 minutes as Disney did in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. This is “Dumbo” for a new generation that never pretends to surpass the original. Add to it Arcade Fire’s mesmerizing lullaby “Baby Mine” and you’re in for something truly special. I suspect kids and their parents will have a great time watching it. I know I did. It’s not my favorite Disney live-action remake so far (that would be “The Jungle Book”), but it left me with a huge smile on my face. In these troubled times, that’s a gift.

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