★★★★☆

Renowned director and producer Tim Burton returned to the cinemas March 29 after a three-year absence with “Dumbo,” a remake of the 1941 animated Disney film. The plot captures a beautiful parallel of familial love between Dumbo and his mother and that of Holt Farrier, played by Colin Farrell, and his children Milly Farrier, played by Nico Parker, and Joe Farrier, played by Finley Hobbins. Coupled with a strong musical score and a powerful use of visual effects, “Dumbo” effectively captivates its audiences.

WALT DISNEY PICTURES | Disney’s “Dumbo,” brought back to theaters with Tim Burton’s distinct artistic eye, is an uplifting family film that will impress with its cinematic visuals.

The movie begins when Holt is reunited with his children and returns to his circus team after being discharged from his military service in war. After a few days of his return, one of the circus elephants gives birth to a baby elephant named Dumbo, who was born with unusually large ears. Max Medici, the leader of the circus team, played by Danny DeVito, thinks Dumbo is not a real elephant and sells his mother to the original buyer. Dumbo, along with Holt and his children, is infuriated by the loss, but when Milly and Joe learn that Dumbo’s enormous ears give him the ability to fly, the Farrier siblings decide to help in every way they can to reunite him with his mother.

The film’s plot is very uplifting. Burton moves the focus of the movie beyond Dumbo himself and manages to make stars out of everyone who helps reunite Dumbo with his mother. This broader scope is especially portrayed in Burton’s choice of using the theme of family as a parallel between the relationship of Dumbo and his mother and that of Holt and his children. Every time Holt is conflicted between choosing to either neglect Dumbo because of pressure from his authorities or help Dumbo because it is the right thing to do, Holt first sees himself as a father and considers what he would have done if Dumbo was also one of his children. This familial love is also evident when Milly and Joe try to help Dumbo find his mother, as they also see Dumbo not as a simple circus elephant but show love for him because they regard him as family. The thematic use of family helps unite the events and characters into a heartwarming and captivating movie experience.

The film also effectively utilizes background music and visual effects during scenes when Dumbo is on his flights across the circus stage and the horizon throughout the movie. The combination of grand background music and enthralling visual effects provides the audience with a scene that is moving to their eyes, ears and hearts. Furthermore, in each of Dumbo’s flight scenes, Burton shows Dumbo’s perspective seeing the circus audience look at him in awe. This shift in viewpoint enriches the emotions of thrill and awe viewers get from each flight scene, as they are able to immerse themselves in Dumbo’s feelings of joy as well.

While the film generally did a good job modernizing the original animation for modern audiences, it could have done better incorporating Timothy the mouse. Timothy played a significant role in the animated film as Dumbo’s best friend, but barely features on Burton’s remake. In fact, the audience is first introduced to three mice who have been trained by Milly for the circus but there is no indication that any of them are Timothy. Though the remake centered more on Dumbo and Holt’s family, Burton could have made the film more appealing by bringing in some kind of a role for Timothy and bringing up reminiscent memories for older generations of viewers, especially given how many experiences the mouse and elephant pair shared in the animation.

Overall, “Dumbo” deserves praise for its solid plot and captivating use of visual and audio effects. Though the minimal role of Timothy may have been a disappointment for some viewers, the warm theme of family running throughout the movie will leave its audiences charmed and delighted.

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