NEW YORK (WABC) -- The original "Dumbo" was released so long ago, in 1941, and the cartoon ran only about an hour. So director Tim Burton was free to completely re-imagine a new version and filter the story through his own unique sensibility -- that is to say slightly weird and quite dark.
Colin Farrell returns to his job at the circus having lost an arm in World War I, and while he's been away, his kids have suffered through the death of his wife -- their mom -- so the movie begins on a downbeat.
The boss of the circus, played with great gusto by Danny DeVito, is determined to keep it running and thinks a new elephant he has just bought will help. Soon, Mrs. Jumbo gives birth to a baby that comes to be called Dumbo.
The idea such a creature could fly merely because he is born with big ears is preposterous, of course, but the special effects are convincing enough.
The idea he soars after breathing in a feather makes it seem somewhat more probable and injects a will-he-or-won't-he-be-able-to-fly note of uncertainty into his adventures.
Michael Keaton plays it very broad as an evil impresario determined to make money from Dumbo. He buys the circus and orders his girlfriend, an aerialist played by Eva Green, to fly with the little guy.
All this leads up to big finish that could be quite scary for young kids and was WAY too over-the-top for me.
Parents will tell you there really are not enough movies for kids aged 10 to 12 years of age, and this one is just for them -- a film tweens can call their own.
"Dumbo" is from Disney, owned by the same parent company as ABC7.
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Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Dumbo,' says Tim Burton remake is too dark, over the top
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