With Dumbo flying into cinemas today, we caught an early screening and rounded up five of the best things about Tim Burton's live-action reboot...
First introduced to cinema audiences almost 80 years ago, the big-eared, flying baby elephant known as Dumbo has been a much-loved fixture in Disney's canon for generations. But in a continuation of the trend that has already seen Jon Favreau's live-action remake of The Jungle Book wowing audiences and will see new versions of both Aladdin and The Lion King hit cinema screens in the near future, today sees Dumbo become the latest of Disney's famous characters to get the reboot treatment.
Tim Burton is the man who has taken on the daunting task of creating a new, live-action reboot starring the flying elephant, recruiting a cast that includes Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Danny DeVito to create an updated take on Dumbo's story.
With Dumbo flying on DVD shelves on Monday (July 29th), we caught an early screening and rounded up five of the best things about Tim Burton's live-action reboot...
Tim Burton adds his unique touch to update an old classic
Remaking a film as beloved as Dumbo was always going to be a difficult task, and while for some it'll never replace the original in their hearts, if anyone was going to give Dumbo the reboot treatment then it's hard to imagine a better man for the job than Tim Burton.
The director has put his own spin on the story, adding in Colin Farrell's widowed war hero and injecting a subplot about the importance of family, while also dispensing with some of the original's more problematic elements to make it a much better fit for the 21st century. It'll have its detractors, no doubt, but as you'd expect from a Tim Burton movie, its a visual feast that feels just like a Burton-directed picture should.
The cast have been extremely well chosen
From Danny DeVito's circus owner Max Medici to Eva Green's Parisian trapeze artist Collette Marchant, the film's cast has been incredibly well put together and credit must go to the film's casting directors Deborah Maxwell Dion and Susie Figgis for their efforts in bringing these characters to life.
Michael Keaton's villain is one of the real highlights
Keaton has worked with Tim Burton many times, of course, and besides the fact that Keaton has already been enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years with terrific performances in films such as Birdman and The Founder, Burton clearly knows how to get the best out of his man and Keaton's villainous theme park owner V. A. Vandevere, who owns the Dreamland venue in Coney Island where Dumbo ends up, is an enjoyably detestable antagonist.
There are plenty of respectful nods to the animated original
Burton's film makes several doffs of the cap to Disney's 1941 original, from an appearance by its famous anthropomorphic train Casey Jr., to a mouse outfitted to look like the original film's pocket-sized ringmaster, Timothy Q. Mouse. But by far the most impressive of these is a modern take on the original's famously hallucinogenic sequence involving the pink elephants, which is recreated here as a centrepiece of Dreamland circus show in one of the film's most visually spectacular scenes.
There's a surprising cameo that boxing fans will appreciate
In one of the film's best gags, there's a surprise appearance from the most famous ring announcer in boxing, Michael Buffer, who delivers a topical variation of his trademark introduction in his role as the ringmaster at Dreamland's circus big top.