Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Dumbo

Dumbo, 1941

"I seen a peanut stand, and heard a rubber band; I've seen a needle that winked its eye.  
But I been done seen about everything when I see an elephant fly." 

I was doing a bit of background reading on this movie, and I found out that Disney made Dumbo to be simple and cheap, to make up for the financial failure of Fantasia.  Lets face it...even though I loved the movie, Fantasia was received very poorly by the public.  Because of this simple mindset that went into creating Dumbo, the animation isn't as detailed, and is in fact more "cartoon-y" than previous movies.  Plus, it's only like an hour long.  Fun fact: It also made use of watercolor backgrounds, which apparently were only used in 2 other Disney animated films: Snow White and Lilo and Stitch.  Anyways, trivia time is over...

I loved this movie.  Yes, the animation is simple and lacks the detail that would later become a Disney trademark.  But I think this is the first movie that Disney made where I really adored the main character.  Dumbo, although he doesn't speak, is so stinkin' cute.  It was easy to fall in love with the little baby elephant, because lets face it - who doesn't love baby animals?! There were many 'awwww' moments in this movie.  

Despite only being an hour long, there are a lot of great scenes in the movie.  The music is great, although I think by far the best song in the movie happens when Dumbo goes to visit his mother, who is in confinement.  A lullaby plays ("Baby Mine") while his mother rocks him through the cell doors.  I'm totally not ashamed to say that I cried during this song.  Watch it, and you'll see why.  This poor elephant has nobody in the world except for his mother, who he can't even be with.  Thankfully, Timothy Mouse befriends him and helps him cope with the bullies in the circus who make fun of Dumbo for his long ears.  I think its kind of funny that they created the friendship between a mouse and an elephant - it shows that relationships can form even in the most unlikely places!

Another scene that I love happens when Timothy Mouse and Dumbo accidentally get drunk and have hallucinations of pink elephants.  Yep, that totally happens.  This is so trippy! It's a bunch of neon elephants dancing and multiplying and warping into weird stuff.  Even the song is trippy.  Seriously, if you haven't seen this, go to YouTube and look up "Pink Elephants on Parade."  You'll love it.

Yes, there is the allegations of stereotypes with the black crows being stereotypical African-Americans.  I doubt Disney intended it to be this way, though.  The crows are super smart, and are sort of free spirits who don't take orders from anyone.  And, despite teasing Dumbo in light-hearted fun, they are actually the characters that are the nicest and most supportive of him.

Overall grade: A+

There was nothing about this movie that I didn't like!  It was short and sweet, full of endearing characters, tear-jerking moments, and plenty of humor.  If you haven't seen it, check it out! I guarantee that you will like, if not love, this movie. 

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