Dumbo Explained: What’s Up With the Ending?

Pros: cast; a kind and touching story; a reminder that animals have no place in the circus; CGI version of Dumbo Cons: the film does not have the recognizable style of Tim Burton “Dumbo” / Dumbo

Genre fantasy, adventure
Director Tim Burton
Cast: Colin Farrell (Holt Farrier), Nico Parker (Millie Farrier), Finley Hobbins (Joe Farrier), Danny DeVito (Max Medici), Eva Green (Colette Marchant), Michael Keaton (W.A. Vandemere), Alan Arkin ( J. Griffin Remington) et al.
Pages Walt Disney Pictures, Tim Burton Productions, Infinite Detective
Year of release 2019
Site IMDb

Dumbo, a baby elephant with huge ears, first appeared in a Walt Disney Productions cartoon released in 1941. The basis of the animated film was a children’s book, which was supplemented with a more detailed plot. Among the main characters, there were mostly animals: the little elephant’s friend and mentor was the mouse Timothy Mouse, and crows helped him cope with his flight. In the full-length film, the leading roles went to people, but the animals stopped talking. This did not make the story worse; rather, it received a new direction with an important lesson.

The plot of the film “Dumbo” shows the noisy everyday life of a traveling circus. A brother and sister live in tents with the performers, to whom their father, World War I veteran Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), returns, struggling to adapt to the new order in the circus. Holt used to be an excellent horseman, but now instead of horses he will have to deal with elephants.


The Farrier family’s life changes when Dumbo, a clumsy elephant, is born at the circus. He has unusually large ears, which is why people make fun of him and don’t want to take him to performances. To add insult to injury, Dumbo is separated from his mother and the children try to comfort the baby elephant by encouraging him to learn to fly. Rumors about Dumbo quickly spread, and a man appears on the horizon interested in how to get the baby elephant into his amusement park, which brings huge profits.


In the film “Dumbo” it is almost impossible to recognize Tim Burton’s signature style (except for the muted tones in the scenery and sympathy for the main character, rejected by society). In this film, the director obeys the rules of Walt Disney Pictures and abandons the beloved dark elements that adorned Burton’s early works. After all, “Dumbo” is a film for family viewing, so it relies on the emotional response of the viewer.


Tim Burton, along with screenwriter Ehren Kruger, adds more events to the old story, encouraging us to empathize even more with Dumbo and at the same time observe how he affects the people around him. At the same time, the creators remember the old cartoon and adopt some scenes from it, transforming them in a new way. One such episode is a circus act that turns giant soap bubbles into dancing aerial elephants. An incredible round dance is displayed in Dumbo’s eyes, enchanting him. The audience, in turn, is captivated by the gaze of the baby elephant.


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The character of Dumbo was created quite successfully using CGI. So that we can understand the character’s feelings, his eyes, located on the sides of real elephants, were moved closer to the trunk. In combination with huge ears, they really cause affection, and at some point they can make you cry. Perhaps this reaction is caused not only by Dumbo’s touching gaze, but also by the whole atmosphere of the circus, saturated with cruelty to animals. Especially for those who find it difficult to see cages, Eren Kruger has prepared an edifying word (yes, in family films, not without this) about the conscious choice of circus performers.


By the way, a few words about circus performers. The main role in the film is played by Colin Farrell, for his character the most difficult trick is trying to win back the affection of the children. But Eva Green takes on the role with acrobatic performances, swinging on aerial rings. The film also stars Tim Burton’s favorite performers – Danny DeVito (the manager of a traveling circus) and Michael Keaton (the owner of an amusement park who wants to see Dumbo fly). This is the fourth time both actors have collaborated with Burton.


As one might guess from the plot features, all the characters are divided into good and bad. Someone changes for the better, and someone gets what they deserve for their atrocities. This doesn’t make the Dumbo remake a mediocre film, but rather a good reminder of important truths. The story is embellished with beautiful sets that were hand-crafted specifically for filming, ignoring the possibilities of computer graphics, as well as a remake of the old song “Baby Mine” performed by Arcade Fire, which plays during the credits.


“Dumbo” is a great family movie with a rich plot and a main character that you want to empathize with.

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