With the current state of things, it seems only a matter of time before every animated Disney film is refashioned and remade as a live-action film to sustain us on a constant diet of Disney content. A few weeks ago, the long awaited (and feared) merger between Disney and 20th Century Fox studios was finalised. The merger has given Disney an overwhelming level of power and influence that suggests a troubling monopoly of the film industry. Amidst the recent news of this merger Disney’s latest live-action remake, “Dumbo” was released. Ostensibly the tale of a flying elephant with overlarge ears, who is the star attraction of a small circus troupe, the new version examines the plights of showbusiness with a consistent focus on the dangers of an entertainment monopoly as Dumbo’s initial home is consumed by the desires of a soulless, commercial entity. Who doesn’t love irony?
In “Dumbo,” the familiar refrains of family being paramount, love conquering all, and small creativity being more compelling than overwrought excess return. The original “Dumbo” was focussed on its animal characters. It was a steady musical, and our elephant only took off from the ground towards the end of the film. This new “Dumbo” introduces a focus on a human family. We begin at the end of World War I. Amputee Holt Farrier, a former horseback rider in the struggling Medici Circus and a recent widower, returns to the troupe, where his two children live. One of the elephants in the troupe gives birth to a calf with unusually large ears. Soon, Dumbo will reveal his flying abilities but things get complicated as his fame bring chaos to the troupe…..