Have you ever seen an elephant fly? Well, step right up and get ready to soar with this Dumbo Parent Review. I’m breaking down all of the thematic elements to help you decide if Disney’s latest live-action film is kid-friendly. And of course, no spoilers.
It’s certainly no secret that I have greatly been anticipating Disney’s latest live action adaptation of the 1941 classic film, Dumbo. The views on this remake have been pretty split. Some people are growing tired of the retellings of classic films. And then there’s the other people, like me, who are craving that new twist on these beloved movies. I think these live-action films are reaching an entirely new audience of Disney lovers, and I applaud Disney Studios’ for being brave enough to take that “risk.”
I took my two children, ages 5 and 9, opening day to see Dumbo. My 5 year old is usually very much hit or miss with live-action movies, but he has been asking to see Dumbo ever since he first saw the trailers. I mean seriously. How could I NOT bring this sweet face?!
Dumbo Parent Review | #Dumbo
Dumbo opens up with two young children, Milly (Finley Hobbins), and Joe (Nico Parker), who have recently lost their mother to influenza. Yes. I KNOW. In typical Disney fashion, the film begins with the children without a mother. Their dad, Holt, who is played by Collin Farrell, has just returned from World War I, and is now an amputee. Clearly these kids have been through a lot, and you cannot help but feel for them.
For the most part, this remake stays true to the original 1941 film. There are also subtle nods to the original that I noticed. For instance, the night Dumbo is born, there are storks flying overhead. While the storks don’t exactly deliver Dumbo to Mrs. Jumbo like the original, I thought this was a clever way to still include them.
Timothy Mouse is disappointingly NOT in the live-action remake, HOWEVER, there were two scenes where I noticed mice in a cage right next to Dumbo. One of those mice was wearing what appeared to be Timothy Mouse’s costume. I thought this was a nice tribute to his original character.
Milly is an inspiring character for girls
While this is truly a “Circus Family,” Milly wants much more. When her father mentions that she will one day be part of the show, she responds that she’d doesn’t want to be “on show.” Milly would much rather be a a scientist and known for her mind. Of course I love how Disney tied this in…ESPECIALLY for the time period of this movie.
Milly is incredibly protective of Dumbo because she can relate to how he is feeling. Dumbo is separated from his mother, and she can truly understand how much he misses her.
As I said, Timothy Mouse isn’t in this movie. However, I feel Milly holds that role and connection to Dumbo, like Timothy.
If you’ve seen the trailers for Dumbo, then you’ve heard the iconic song, “Baby Mine.” This might have been the only part of the film I was a bit disappointed in…maybe because I held it to such high standards? In the 1941 film, that scene is heart stopping. It is gut wrenching. I just didn’t get that feeling that I thought I was expecting. That doesn’t go to say that you won’t feel for these animals. It’s painstakingly hard watching Dumbo and his mother, Mrs. Jumbo be separated. You cannot help but fall in love with that sweet baby elephant. And those blue eyes? They will speak to your soul.
The Elephant in the Room
Okay. Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, shall we say? (pun intended). Tim Burton directed this film. There was a lot of controversy over this. I think people either were incredibly excited, or they didn’t see the fit. I will say that Dumbo is definitely the most non Tim Burtonesque film I think I’ve ever seen. In fact, had I not known he directed the film, I never would have guessed it. Sure there are a few scary elements, but nothing that really creeped me out. Nothing that I didn’t see fit. The CGI effects in this film were simply brilliant and well-done. Dreamland was seriously mesmerizing.
Is Dumbo Kid Friendly?
My opinion? For the most part, YES! Let me explain. Dumbo is rated PG. There are two uses of the word “Hell,” and there is some violence. There is a fire scene that might be intense for some little ones, and the cruelty shown towards Mrs. Jumbo could be upsetting. I think Dumbo has several great conversation starters we can have with our own children. Probably the biggest being that just because someone or something is “different,” doesn’t make that a bad thing. Uniqueness should be celebrated. It’s what makes us who we are. EVERYONE is different! And that’s OKAY!
Dumbo has a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, compared to the short 65 minute 1941 film. My 9 year old handled this time incredibly well. And you know what? My 5 year old did, too! I was really impressed. He never once asked me, “Is it almost over?” And he literally said, “awwww,” ever single time Dumbo was on the screen. Bottom line is, you know your kids best!
I felt Dumbo was a very heartwarming film, encouraging us all to celebrate our uniqueness. We are also left with the feeling that with determination, anything is possible. Go see this movie with your kids, your family, your friends, even yourself. You will leave the theater feeling like you won’t just fly, you’ll soar. Let’s face it. You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen an elephant fly!
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I hope you found this Dumbo Parent Review helpful! Do you plan on taking your family to see Disney’s latest live action film?
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