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Film review: This Dumbo never finds its wings, says Rashid Irani

Tim Burton’s retelling of the 1941 tale about a flying elephant is surprisingly tacky and devoid of heart. You’re better off revisiting the Disney original.

movie reviews Updated: Mar 28, 2019 17:57 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Colin Farrell plays a former circus performer who, along with his two children, have been tasked with caring for an odd newborn elephant that can fly.
  • Direction: Tim Burton
  • Actors: Danny DeVito, Colin Farrell
  • Rating: 1.5 / 5

This live-action re-imagining of the 1941 flying-elephant fable fails to soar. First off, it’s almost twice as long as the original. For another thing, Tim Burton’s version is, surprisingly, soppy and has no heart.

Just after the Great War, a former circus performer (Colin Farrell) and his two children are enlisted by the owner (Danny DeVito) to tend to the titular newborn elephant. It turns out baby Dumbo has oversized, floppy ears that enable him to fly. Soon the star attraction of the Big Tent, the little fellow draws the attention of an unscrupulous entrepreneur (Michael Keeton).

Tim Burton’s trademark visual panache is entirely missing. Most of the high-flying set pieces are unbelievably tacky.

Sparks were expected to fly as Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton teamed up for the first time since Burton’s own Batman Returns in 1992. Sadly, both the veterans as well as the rest of the ensemble are lacklustre.

The director’s trademark visual panache is entirely missing. Most of the high-flying set pieces are uncharacteristically tacky. Collaborating on his 17th film with Tim Burton, composer Danny Elfman’s music score is undistinguished. As is the rest of this forgettable remake.

Seek out Disney’s vintage original instead.

First Published: Mar 28, 2019 17:57 IST