Dumbo is one of the oldest Disney films, but that didn’t stop it from being a box office hit. It’s easy to see why you could like Dumbo as it’s a simple, but direct film. It cuts to the chase right away since it’s so short and the characters can be fun. It’s definitely not amazing, but I was glad to see Dumbo’s mother take out the human with the whip. Those guys definitely needed to be taught their place!
The plot of the movie is that an Elephant is born with very large ears. The others decide that this deformity means that he should turn in his elephant card and they basically decide to give him the silent treatment. Dumbo’s mom tries to help, but she is put into solitary. Dumbo’s pretty sad at this turn of events, but luckily he meets up with Timothy Q. Timothy has never liked bullies so he puts the other elephants in their place and tries to cheer Dumbo up. He shows the elephant the meaning of friendship and compassion in the face of adversity. He may be small, but he has a big heart!
Timothy really steals the show as he’s easily the best character in the film. His scenes are always a lot of fun like when he intimidated the elephants. He gets Dumbo to get out of his shell and is directly responsible for the film having any kind of happy ending. Without him, the film wouldn’t have been nearly as good. Dumbo’s a decent character, but not really my kind of main character. He’s a little too quiet and gets pushed around by everyone else all the time. A little more spark and intensity from Dumbo would have definitely been appreciated. The ability to fly with his ears is quite awesome though and he should be proud of them. The other Elephants are just jealous and now the world will be as well since he has become such a sensation!
I also liked the birds who flew around as they were the only ones to get the edge on Timothy at one point. While they were a little hostile at first, they ended up being good allies in the end. They showed up after a very intense scene as Timothy and Dumbo found out why you should never drink any kind of alcoholic beverage. They had a very intense acid dream where Elephants merged and the pink lights tried to blind you. I thought that was very intense and while the scene did last a while, it wasn’t painfully long like something out of 2001 the Space Odyssey. The scene was fun and handled with a good amount of tact.
That also brings me into one of the main positives for the film, which is that the animation holds up incredibly well considering how old this film is. This was in the 40’s, but you could easily mistake it for an 80’s-90’s film. It’s sad that we have animation that is nearly 100 years old, yet can beat out some of the modern cartoons like Uncle Grandpa or even Teen Titans Go in terms of pure animation. Dumbo just feels more solid and certainly more vibrant. The colors really leap out at you.
As this is an old film, the writing is also quite good as well. The characters all sound fairly real. Naturally the bullies aren’t likable, but at least their insults are fairly dignified and you can tell that they have a lot of experience with the insults. They are ultimately defeated and humiliated on stage so they should have probably realized that they were doomed to fall.
My only real problem with the film is that things can get a little too sad for Dumbo. At one point, he is reduced to being a clown and jumping into a pie. The fall was quite large and he actually got slightly injured, which was a big no no for me. Luckily, Dumbo tipped the scales at the end, but some more domination from the young lead would have been a lot of fun as well. Of course, the film was quite short so it didn’t have that much time for Dumbo to really show off his moves, but if he was older, he could have handled the situation a little better.
Overall, Dumbo’s a good film. It’s very short so there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. It’s very peaceful and you’ll enjoy watching it as a calming experience. Once again, I’ve got to say that the animation is very impressive and that factor alone makes it completely worth seeing. You’ll quickly forget that this film came out wayyyyy back in the 1940’s. The intro was also neat as he probably helped to invent the old tale of how babies were actually dropped at your door step by a large bird. Even Yoshi’s Island had fun with that in one of the games as we learned Mario’s true origin. Dumbo never got as popular as the other Disney films, but it can hold its own. I’d recommend checking this film out so you can be ready to the remake. I just hope that the new Dumbo film ends up being good as a film about any animal can always be verrrrry dangerous!