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‘Dumbo’ brings a classic film to life

April 25, 2019 GMT

Movies & More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on Disney’s “Dumbo.” This PG-rated film is directed by Tim Burton and currently playing in theaters.

Some movie characters have challenges to overcome and obstacles in their way.

The new live-action version of “Dumbo” from Disney is set in 1919 and the computer-generated Dumbo has to overcome being separated from his mother and being judged for having large ears for which he eventually becomes famous. Dumbo is assisted by circus kids Millie (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), who have lost their own mother to illness and have empathy for the young elephant.

Millie and Joe’s dad (played by Colin Farrell) comes home from the war to find the horses that he and his late wife rode in the circus have been sold. He is put in charge of the care of the elephants in the circus run by Max Medici (played by Danny DeVito). Michael Keaton gets to play the villain in “Dumbo” and it was interesting to see him and DeVito reunited on film.

While playing a game with Dumbo involving a feather, Millie and Joe realize that the young elephant has special skills, but it takes the adults longer to realize that Dumbo can fly.

As I sat in the theater watching this film, I thought to myself about the magic of the movies as I found myself buying into a story about an elephant learning to fly. The computer-generated Dumbo conveys emotions through facial expressions and it’s difficult not to cheer for his success.

“Dumbo” is a sad movie and does spend a lot of time focusing on the pain caused by separating the young elephant from his mother. It also looks at the power of believing in oneself and the importance of standing up for what is right. The movie also touches on the issue of animals as circus performers.

John Gillispie is the public relations director for the Huntington Museum of Art.