Dumbo is the story of a young elephant that helps breathe new life into a traveling circus with his ability to fly thanks to his unusually large ears. But not everything about the circus is as bright and shiny as it seems on the surface.
This being one of his less frightening movies, scraggly and eccentric genius Tim Burton transports his audience to 1919, one year after the end of World War I. Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has come home from the war to rejoin his children at the circus, only to find out that his act had been dismantled by Max Medici (Danny Devito) in his absence. So he takes care of the elephants instead.
What is it with Disney characters and mommy issues? Hardly any characters in any movies (including this one) have mothers. They may have mother figures, but their actual mothers are usually dead.
When Holt’s children realize that Dumbo can fly, all anyone else sees is a bunch of dollar signs. Dumbo does help restore the circus to its former glory, but people’s greed doesn’t stop there. They just want more and more and more. After all, money makes the world go round, doesn’t it?
Beyond greed, some people are just pure evil, no matter how charming they are on the surface. Michael Keaton’s character, V.A. Vandevere, is one of these people, even though he is reminiscent of Sam Champion (former chief meteorologist for ABC News, and a really nice guy).
At its core, Dumbo is a story about learning to believe in yourself. You don’t need to hide behind anything special to do what you are meant to do.
This movie may be emotional roller coaster, but it’s definitely worth seeing.