Since the success of Disney’s new version of the “Jungle Book” and “The Beauty and the Beast,” it was clear that the mouse company would not hold back on real-filming its material. Three will appear in 2019: “King of the Lions” will come in July, “Aladdin” in May and “Dumbo” in March.

While the first two are from the golden days of the 90s, “Dumbo” is a true classic: the original is from 1941! Between “Fantasia” and “Bambi” Disney told the story of the little flying elephant to my big ears. And it took only 64 minutes for that. The remake runs almost twice as long with 115 minutes. What else is different?

The plot

Florida 1919: Because he returns from the war with only one arm, trick rider Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) is out of work in the ring of the small circus. In order to provide for his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), he takes on the job as an elephant keeper. And one day discovered that the newly purchased elephant lady has been given a baby. However, the little one has such big ears that he can hardly walk because he is constantly stepping on it – he gets the name Dumbo. But while the Farrier children are alone with him, the little elephant accidentally gets a feather into its trunk, has to sneeze – and takes off briefly, beating his ears.

At first nobody wants to believe the children, but during a performance everybody sees the flying elephant – a world sensation. Soon, the rich businessman Vandervere (Michael Keaton) appears to buy ringmaster Max (Danny DeVito) the whole circus – along with Dumbo. Vanderveres friend and star Colette (Eva Green) should study with the elephant a new number. But soon the Farriers realize that the new boss is not to be trusted …

Lots of Disney, little Burton

When it became known that director Tim Burton would take over the production of “Dumbo”, fans were surprised. For Tim Burton’s love was always the sloping fabrics, with a sugar sweet Disney story would have brought him probably the least. But at first glance, there is actually a lot of Burton for the money. With Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, he not only brought his stars from “Batman Return” back to the camera, but with Eva Green, he also brought his favorite from the recent past. He was able to oblige his house and court composer Danny Elfman and decisively influence the set design – because “Dumbo” looks like a genuine Burton film.

However, that is far less true of the content and style of the narrative. Here, Disney played a lot more on the safe side and obviously forbid the director too weird escapades. Because despite a rather gloomy plot, in the course of which the poor little elephant is played pretty bad, remains “Dumbo” overall a clean, typical Disney movie, in which one must search the small subversive moments of a Tim Burton with a magnifying glass. They exist – but many are not. Instead, the movie neatly rattles off most of the big scenes of the cartoon original. The sad lullaby of the imprisoned mother, the little ones with their trunk out
Caress the lattices. The clown number with the burning house where Dumbo flies for the first time. Connoisseurs of the original can be found here a lot, even the mouse Timothy, but here has only a cameo.

Entertaining, but not always gripping

Because Burton was rarely allowed to get an angle in the sound, he got even more for equipment and tricks: The sets are lush and beautiful to look at. And the effects are also impressive, the elephants look as real as the animals in the jungle book. However, some of them are quite gloomy for a children’s film, which should be “Dumbo” without any doubt, the release from six years is rather too low for very sensitive children. A bit of Tim Burton has landed in the movie after all.

But he would have liked to be a little shorter, because the story does not always carry over the almost two hours. In addition, of all the two children, with whom the audience should make friends the fastest, relatively pale and not particularly interesting advised. But the big ones are all the more fun because DeVito, Keaton, Farrell and Green fulfill their roles with a lot of charm. Especially Michael Keaton gives the villains wonderfully malicious. And so “Dumbo” is not the big hit the audience – and maybe Disney – hoped for by Tim Burton, but a always entertaining and especially in the cinema absolutely worth seeing film – already because of its high Schauwerte.


For a typical Tim Burton movie clearly too harmless, for a Disney almost a little too dark: The real film adaptation of Disney’s classic “Dumbo” visually more than content. Not every main character is really interesting, not every storyline really exciting. But the stars tear out a lot in their roles – and the circus scenes are a force. So you can have a good look!