What Critics Are Saying About Dumbo 2019

Tim Burton’s 1941 classic, Dumbo is out today in theaters! This is the 2019 version of the classic animated film remake into its own live adaptation of a baby elephant who discovers his ears can double as wings.

However, before heading out to the theaters you might just want a read through on what critics have to say about the movie. Don’t worry, there will be no spoilers ahead!

The Hollywood Reporter:

Disney has taken the risk of recreating a Tim Burton film that has touched and affected children in its generation. However, they failed to touch on the classic feel that the 1941 film was able to impart. “That’s more or less what they’ve ended up with, and if it’s not going to supplant the eternally beloved 1941 animated classic for the multiple generations exposed to it at a young age, there’s likely enough here to keep today’s children absorbed. Though it’s hard to imagine it haunting their psyches into adulthood like its predecessor did for so many.” Moreover, the characters were spread too thin without much character development, “this cluster of peripheral figures without much to do until the climactic action — they’re like refugees from The Greatest Showman — just adds to the bloat.” It is also notable that the CGI is polished but “fall into an artificial limbo between animation and photorealism.”


“Tim Burton’s live-action remake of the 1941 Disney classic about a flying circus elephant adds nuts and story bolts to a tale that didn’t need them.” It failed to capture the imagination that the 1941 classic shared. It’s off-setting to see that Dumbo learns to fly at the beginning of the movie unlike the classic when Dumbo only learned to fly on the last few minutes, “in the new “Dumbo,” our hero’s happy-sad flights of fancy aren’t the emotional culmination of the movie; they start early on and happen periodically, to gradually lesser effect.” Moreover, it is dragged down by a repetitive storyline that detaches itself from the classic film, which overall fails to get us hooked on a character emotionally. ““Dumbo” has the look and atmosphere of a “sincere” blockbuster that’s trying too hard.”

Rolling Stone:

The live action remake of Dumbo was a complicated version of the classic with unnecessary human roles that failed to contribute to the climax or the overall massage of the new film. It failed to convey the classic message and feel by overcomplicating the plot. “It’s a tale of misfits, with [the classic] Dumbo as the ultimate outsider, fighting not to belong to but escape from a society that dismisses them as freaks. Burton didn’t need Hollywood glitz and so-called human interest to get that point across. Only when the film moves past the audience pandering, does Dumbo cut loose and soar.” Dumbo is a story about separation of a child from his mother and not necessarily the need for a happy ending but a sense of freedom.

The Guardian:

“Tim Burton’s new Dumbo lands in the multiplex big top with a dull thud. It is a flightless pachyderm of a film that saddles itself with 21st-century shame at the idea of circus animals, overcomplicating the first movie, losing the directness, abandoning the lethal pathos, mislaying the songs and finally getting marooned in some sort of steampunk Jurassic Park, jam-packed with retro-futurist boredom that had the kids at the performance I attended talking among themselves.” It did not share the hurt and the pain of separation that marked Dumbo as the saddest Disney movie, sadder than SImba losing his father or Bambi losing her mother.

What got us looking forward to the remake of Dumbo was the original feeling of pain and struggle. The classic thought us the heart-wrenching ache of getting separated with people that we love, not necessarily through death or disappearance of which, but due to the drive of societal factors and misunderstanding of a situation. A pain led by people’s abuse and dominance over others. Moreoever, it was the freeing, happy and sad moment in the end. It’s not the collective pop culture idea of a flying elephant but what that flight meant, which the remake failed to deliver. It was an attempt but it’s just a sad homage to the classic that should have not been made.

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