Disney’s Dumbo (PG)
Starring Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton
Directed by Tim Burton
Tim Burton’s latest, a live-action remake of Disney’s 1941 animated classic Dumbo (full disclosure: this writer never saw the original, at least not in its entirety), invokes memories of an early Burton fable, Edward Scissorhands.
This time, the misunderstood freak of nature isn’t a man-made, black leather-wearing abomination but an adorable CG elephant infant that can fly with its ginormous ear flaps.
Separated from his mother, the titular calf is the enslaved star of a carnival-cum-amusement park (is this a sly dig at the Mickey Mouse Empire?) owned by a corrupt entrepreneur (Michael Keaton, breaking bad, going money-mad).
Enter Dumbo’s pals — including Colin Farrell’s disabled WWI veteran, Eva Green’s aerial performer, and Danny DeVito’s grouchy circus owner (fanboys will relish the scenes he shares with Batman Returns alum Keaton) — to help him escape.
While the Burton trademarks (dreamy childlike awe, eye candy décor) are intact, you also get this frustrating feeling that the director is holding back or repeating himself, especially in the routine home stretch. It’s supposed to be a feel-good movie but instead, it’s just a feel-okay one.
That, and an advert for the inevitable Dumbo theme park ride. (**1/2)