The first reactions to Tim Burton's live-action Dumbo have arrived. Disney has been revisiting some of their animated classics for a new generation and next up is the tale of an elephant with giant ears that can fly. Originally released in 1941, the animated movie is a staple of the classic Disney era and, in that way, Burton is walking on uncertain ground. So how did he do?
According to the early reactions coming out of the premiere, this is a mostly solid remake. Dumbo is, by most accounts, Tim Burton at his best. The director has had a somewhat unfortunate string in recent years but many of those who witnessed the movie so far say that this is right up his alley and it's clear he was the right man for the job. Writer Courtney Howard had nothing but kind things to say in her brief reaction.
"#Dumbo has a blessedly surprising pro-animal rights agenda wrapped in a subtle, rebellious meta-commentary on a band of outsiders shaking up a corporate establishment. Its aesthetic design is dazzling, gorgeous & meticulous. The CG elephant is absolutely adorable."
This sounds like it's in line with what many were hoping for. Tim Burton always seemed like the guy that could pull something like this off and luckily the right version of him showed up. The criticisms seem to be similar. It's generally called a visual delight with a simple yet pleasing story. Unfortunately, that comes at the expense of major development with the human characters, who are played by the likes of Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green and Michael Keaton. Nerds of Color had this to say.
"#Dumbo the character is quite cute. But unfortunately, though it looks great, the movie lacks the sincerity and heart that made the animated original a classic. Too manufactured, and it's super talented cast is a bit wasted on paper thin characters and relationships."
The other consistent comment is that the titular elephant is a real charmer. Overall, this sounds like a solid scenario for Disney. As for whether or not it will actually be a success at the box office? If the comparison made by Franchise Fred is any indication, it just might.
"#Dumbo is the Star is Born of flying elephant movies."
This brings things full circle in a way. Tim Burton directed the Alice in Wonderland live-action remake in 2010, which grossed more than $1 billion worldwide and kicked off this string of live-action remakes. The studio also has Guy Ritchie's Aladdin (May) and Jon Favreau's The Lion King (July) arriving this year. Disney is set to release Dumbo in theaters on March 29. Be sure to check out more of the early reactions below.