The premise of a floppy-eared elephant taking to the air has been in the collective consciousness of movie-loving generations since Disney made Dumbo in 1941. Lest you forget, in that one-minute-longer than an hour classic, the baby elephant so cruelly orphaned from its mother does not learn to soar until six minutes from the finish.
Thus Director Tim Burton and screenwriter Ehren Kruger have their own way with this year’s remake.
Our baby pachyderm still must overcome so much mistreatment from the human world, yes. And you can’t help but let your gut roil about the sinister sides displayed by those who show pure hate for differences from the start, or plot to make the most from them.
Kids turn out to be the pure and good at heart. The adults in their life have a lot to learn.
Colin Farrell shines as the father who must cope aplenty after returning from war, and Danny DeVito makes the most of his role as the circus owner mostly trying to do his best for those under his tent during hard times. Then there’s Michael Keaton, easy to despise as the main villain, and Eva Green, equally as easy to forgive for her trespasses as she finds ways to the manners of the heart.
Dumbo discovers his ability in the beginning this time around, and the children do their best to nurture the awkward beast.
As the obvious morality tale unwinds, I wasn’t sure if the little elephant needed Burton’s lavish touches or if we needed this sort of reminder of how certain segments of the world lord their way over others.
Central New Yorkers can see Dumbo free at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, as part of the Liverpool Public Library’s Newly Released Movies series, an offsite program at Salina Free Library.</strong)