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Tim Burton
Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton
Ehren Kruger

A young elephant whose oversized ears enable him to fly helps save a struggling circus.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English Dolby Atmos
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
French Dolby Plus 7.1
Spanish Dolby Plus 7.1
Japanese Dolby Plus 7.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 6/25/2019

• “Circus Spectaculars” Featurette
• “The Elephant In the Room” Featurette
• “Built to Amaze” Featurette
• “Easter Eggs on Parade” Featurette
• “Clowning Around” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Video
• Sneak Peeks
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X800 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Dumbo [4K UHD] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 18, 2019)

In the studio’s relentless quest to remake each and every one of their animated classics, 1941’s Dumbo gets an update via this 2019 Tim Burton-directed live-action affair. Set in 1919, widower Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) returns from World War I minus an arm.

This complicates his career as a circus horse rider. An even bigger problem emerges because ringmaster Max Medici (Danny DeVito) sold the equines to keep the struggling operation afloat.

To spur ticket sales, Max buys “Mrs. Jumbo”, a pregnant elephant. He hopes that the baby pachyderm will entice customers, but when Max sees that newborn “Jumbo Jr.” sports enormous ears, he despairs, though he soon pivots and attempts to use the child as a comedy act. This doesn’t go well and results in the cruel nickname “Dumbo” for the little guy.

Holt’s kids Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) bond with Dumbo and before long, they discover that his massive ears allow him to fly. This turns Dumbo into the circus’s star attraction, though various complications occur as he earns fame.

At a mere 64 minutes, the 1941 Dumbo remains the shortest feature film Disney animation ever put on screens, and at its heart, it offers a slight tale. Really, it barely attempts a plot, as it mostly concentrates on character elements and Dumbo’s ability to overcome prejudice.

Circa 2019, another 64-minute movie wouldn’t fly, but at 112 minutes, the new Dumbo feels much too long, and it takes a slew of liberties with the original. Though other Disney remakes like 2016’s Jungle Book and 2017’s Beauty and the Beast redid their predecessors in a fairly literal manner, the 2019 Dumbo uses the source more as inspiration than anything else.

In theory, I like this choice. The 1941 Dumbo remains lovely and charming, and a mostly slavish remake wouldn’t improve on that model, so it makes sense to take the characters and story down different paths.

However, the 2019 film gets too far away from what made the original so delightful: Dumbo himself. Despite his name in the title, our floppy-eared pachyderm pal feels like the 10th leading character at best, as he gets surprisingly little to do in his own movie.

Instead, this version is about the returning veteran. And his kids. And the circus owner. And the villain. And the aerial hottie. And pretty much everyone else you can find.

Who wants a Dumbo that spends 90% of its time with superfluous humans? This is a progression of plot points in search of interesting characters and charm, and it never finds them.

As I mentioned, I do appreciate the filmmakers’ willingness to add their own spin to the property, but I think they tried too hard to differentiate the two movies. The 2019 edition loses touch with the simplicity and sweetness at the core of the 1941 flick, and it becomes plodding and dull along the way.

Dumbo wastes a lot of talent along the way. In addition to the once-great Burton, Farrell and DeVito, the movie includes folks like Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Alan Arkin.

For a fan of 1992’s Batman Returns, it’s fun to see Keaton and DeVito teamed with Burton once again, but none of them bring their “A” games. Even the scenes that directly pit Keaton and DeVito lack sparks, and none of the other castmembers manage to provide lively performances.

The movie’s relative absence of the title character himself remains the biggest drawback, though, and some less than convincing computer animation doesn’t help. Dumbo himself looks adorable but not believable, mainly because the CG artists still can’t pull off eyes that feel real.

While other aspects of Dumbo’s animation work fine, the absence of life in the eyes makes the character seem artificial. As a result, the lead never earns the affection he deserves, as he just feels fake too much of the time.

Dumbo works best in its first act, as our introduction to the circus and its oddballs offers some entertainment. Our first glimpses of Dumbo himself seem decent as well, so we get about 40 minutes of reasonable execution.

The longer the film runs, though, the less satisfying it becomes, mainly because Dumbo stretches itself too thin. Rather than a tale about a misfit who finds strength and grows, the movie becomes about animal welfare and corporate greed and the family unit and probably five or six other themes I forgot.

By the time the credits finally roll, I let out a sigh of relief. Not every story needs to push the two-hour mark, and Dumbo makes more sense at 90 minutes, tops.

Dumbo also makes more sense as a cute story of an under-elephant, not as a bloated tale of human foibles. This live-action remake becomes a dull, sluggish disappointment.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C

Dumbo appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. This became an excellent presentation.

Overall sharpness worked well. Virtually no softness materialized, so the movie appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

Many period pieces opt for subdued palettes, and that was definitely true here. The colors of Dumbo tended toward a laid-back mix of orange/amber and teal, without much to call vivid. Still, these were fine given the stylistic choices, and the 4K UHD’s HDR capabilities gave the hues greater vivacity and impact.

Blacks seemed dark and right, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. Across the board, this became a terrific image.

Despite the fantasy elements, the film’s Dolby Atmos mix stayed fairly subdued. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, this was a fairly low-key flick, though it occasionally displayed lively elements.

A few action-ish moments related to trains and Dumbo’s aerial adventures fared best, as those showed movement and range. These were pretty infrequent, though, so good stereo music and general ambience ruled the day. This meant we got a nice sense of place but rarely much more.

Audio quality satisfied. Music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy, with strong low-end during those occasional “action” moments.

Speech appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed positive.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the Blu-ray version? The Atmos mix added a little involvement and kick, while visuals appeared a bit tighter and more vivid. The fact the film was finished in 2K restricted improvements, but the 4K UHD still became a more pleasing representation of the movie.

No extras appear on the 4K UHD disc itself, but the included Blu-ray copy provides a few components. Circus Spectaculars runs eight minutes, 20 seconds and provides comments from director Tim Burton, producer Derek Frey, circus choreographer Kristian Kristof, aerial trainer Katharine Arnold, and actors Colin Farrell, Nico Parker, Finley Hobbins, Eva Green, Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton.

“Spectaculars” discusses cast, characters and performances. Some insights emerge, but a lot of “Spectaculars” focuses on happy talk and praise.

With The Elephant In the Room, we get a five-minute, 50-second reel that features Burton, Green, Keaton, Farrell, DeVito, Frey, visual effects supervisor Richard Stammers and Dumbo performer Edd Osmond.

“Room” covers the design and execution of Dumbo in the film. Some good notes emerge, and I especially like the look at how they gave Dumbo life on the set.

Next comes Built to Amaze, a seven-minute, 40-second piece that includes Farrell, Keaton, Burton, Frey, DeVito, Green, Parker, producer Justin Springer, costume designer Colleen Atwood, production designer Rick Heinrichs, and art director Andrew Bennett.

We learn about production and costume design. Too much of the program praises Burton, but we still find some interesting details.

Easter Eggs on Parade goes for three minutes, 52 seconds and focuses on the 2019 movie’s references to the 1941 film. It’s a fun way to cover these.

Finally, Clowning Around lasts one minute, 57 seconds and shows bloopers. It’s pretty standard stuff.

Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of seven minutes, 47 seconds. A few of these offer more of Max, while others offer minor exposition. The Max scenes tend to be amusing but the rest feel fairly superfluous.

The disc opens with ads for Frozen 2 and The Lion King (2019). No trailer for Dumbo appears here.

Despite a talented director and a good cast, Dumbo lacks the basic magic and charm it needs to succeed. Burdened with too many side elements and too little time with its lead, the end result feels bloated and sluggish. The 4K UHD brings excellent visuals as well as pretty good audio and a smattering of supplements. Dumbo offers a mediocre remake.

To rate this film, visit the original review of DUMBO

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