Finally Hollywood has released a film that both children and adults can relate to. Dumbo, a lighthearted retooling of the 1980 historical drama The Elephant Man, is the time-worn tale of a plucky little outcast who learns that believing in yourself is the magic that can make you fly and/or die from a horribly disfiguring disease at the age of 27.
Stylishly directed by Tim Burton, this Disney gem tells the true story of John “Dumbo” Merrick — a 19th-century sideshow attraction dying from the advanced stages of elephantiasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease — whom everyone mistakes for a cute baby elephant, which was a common misunderstanding during this period of history.
Despite Merrick’s objections to being fed hay and forced to walk around naked, he nonetheless delights audiences with his playful, acrobatic antics. Burton’s choice to focus on our hero’s charming innocence is a refreshing departure from the heavy-handed moralizing of the original film’s plot. While David Lynch’s 1980 production centered around humanity’s de facto instinct to shun its wretched outcasts through the blind existential angst that drives the empathetic perspective of the tormentor, this delightful remake has Danny Devito in it.
Sure to be enjoyed by all but the most hard-hearted.
SCORE: 4 out of 5 widgets