6.5/10 The general rule of thumb for remakes is that if you just copy and paste the original film but updated the visual effects and add a more modern cast, then you’ve wasted everyone’s time (i.e.- 2015’s “Cinderella”) but if you take an older movie and expand it or change some story elements or add new songs then you tend to make it worth our while (i.e.- 2016’s “The Jungle Book” and 2017’s “Beauty and the Beast”). “Dumbo” is the latest Disney remake of an older animated classic from Tim Burton, whom has already remade “Alice in Wonderland” for the studio. The original was easy to expand because it was only about an hour long. There are a lot of aspects that work in regards to this film. This is a better movie than the animated original. The original had very minimal dialogue due to a lot of the animal characters not talking and even though it was only an hour, the pacing dragged and made the movie feel a lot longer than it actually was. Although this remake does start a little slow, once it picks up the pacing stays strong until the film ends. There are more characters with backstory and depth to them now. The visuals, production design and costume design are fantastic in typical Burton fashion. This is composer Danny Elfman’s best work in years after a string of forgettable film scores. Danny DeVito is actually really funny in this film and has the best lines. A cameo from Michael Buffer may be one of the top five best cameos of all time in any film ever, which had me laughing both times he showed up. There are some nice references and callbacks to the original movie (the standout regarding pink elephants) that nicely paid homage without shoving too much fan service down our throats like “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” did. There are a lot of elements that make this film work overall but there are still some glaring problems that stand out as the elephant in the room. The biggest issue is easily Michael Keaton. This is the worst character he has ever played and the worst performance he has ever given in his career. His character, his accent, his line delivery, his awkwardness, his hair, etc. are all absolutely terrible and the 2D cartoon of the cliché evil businessman is so overdone and lazy. Nothing about his character works. Eva Green’s character says that she is just another one of his many gems that he likes to show off, yet we never see him with any other women, which kind of discredits what she says. There was also no emotional payoff between Colin Farrell and his children by the end of the film which was needed. Some characters are definitely developed more than others. So this film definitely has some problems with it but I had lower expectations and was pleasantly surprised at how many things this film did right. Not a must see in theaters but when it comes out, this is definitely worth checking out as long as you keep your expectations in check.
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