on 23 July 2012
Having had the opportunity to watch ALL the DVD versions of one of absolutely fantastic animated classics from Disney and as a former (now retired) member of Disney Management staff, it is strikingly obvious that the charm and production of how we (of a certain age) remember so fondly the animation, and it is somehow lost that in the newer Disney releases, albeit digitally remastered, with the loss of widescreen vision, the over emphasis of sharp lines, etc.
Buy the Original Release if possible - you will not be disappointed.
It is a GREAT Story, timeless and for all ages.
As the 'Golden Age' of the Disney studio almost came to a close, 'Dumbo' is the film that is most commonly remembered as being an integral release. It saved the business after the financial losses of Pinocchio and Fantasia before it, but did so astonishingly with such economy and simplicity.
This is the most striking aspect about Dumbo - its sheer emotional power through simple production. The story itself only runs for 64 minutes, yet in many respects, this condensed running time allowed for a more concise film. As for the plot, we see the animals from a travelling Circus receiving their new-born from the 'Delivery Stork', only for the very last delivery to be a baby elephant with unusually large ears. In response to name his mother chose ('Jumbo'), her female companions cruelly rename him 'Dumbo' due to his silly appearance.
Forget the usual heros and villains - for Dumbo, it is a chapter-like story that rides on the emotions. The best scene of the film (and possibly, one of the saddest in movie history) is that of the baby elephant visiting his mother, who had recently been locked in her own trailer as she scared the guests when Dumbo is taunted. Neither of them can see each other through the tiny barred-window, leaving them to stroke each through through the limited space. Its a lesson for any aspiring animator as the frame holds on Dumbo looking up at his mothers trunk, leaving the tears to fall down his eyes. You can't watch it without welling up.
The film contains every attribute you would want in the space of an hour, though. As well as this emotion, the Crows bring some humorous relief to the viewer with their wise-cracking talk and singing, while the 'Pink Elephants' scene dabbles in the surrealism that was in fashion at the time, with the likes of artists such as Salvador Dali.
This may not be a 'Diamond Edition' (for some strange reason), but the restoration says otherwise. It is yet another flawless Lowry-Digital remastering that astonishingly reveals many original colour consistencies on the cels, and really brings out the lush softness of the water coloured backgrounds. Although the film grain has been removed like all the recent Lowry efforts, you could argue that grain wasn't an intended product of the production. Quite simply, the artwork has never been clearer, which is all the more important for Dumbo as there are so many dark/night scenes.
As for additional content, the Blu-Ray contains a modest amount of extras (not a patch on the Diamond/Platinum Editions), but it should be enough for most people. The DVD is also included as with most Disney packages now, and it is all presented in a lovely shimmering slipcase.
In short, Dumbo my not be the most glamorous or technically advanced film the studio produced, but this only balanced the production over to a wonderful plot and use of imagery. The restoration is perfect (both visually and the audio) and at these prices, paying a few quid less for the stand-alone DVD version just doesn't make sense. Top marks Disney!
on 14 June 2009
Walt Disney's charming fantasy reminds you of why his movies became so successful over the years, and why they remain in the public consciousness. The classic story of the eponymous pachyderm, rejected at birth due to his enormous (even for an elephant) ears, melds humour, pathos, surrealism (the pink elephants segment in the middle is inspired) and tells a smashing story.
Along with his mouse friend, Timothy, Dumbo learns to put his ears to good use, and ends the film both adored and happy. The animation is simple but effective, and the voice artists are spot-on. My 5 year old can't get enough of this DVD, and at 64 minutes long it never outstays its welcome.
on 3 November 2007
Dumbo was probably the first Disney film I ever saw. I remember popping my old video tape into the player, sitting through all the previews and copyright warnings, and then smile with joy as the opening credits came up. I loved Dumbo because it was colourful and fun, despite the intense cruelty that our little protagonist and his mother go through.
Of course, there were some things I noticed that I'd been blind to at the age of three. For example, there are a few WWII refernces - I'll leave you to figure them out. Another example is the crows. They sound a lot like the stereotype of black people in America at the time. This might seem a little insensitive, but trust me, there's worse things out there. Dumbo is not racist. Remember that those crows, aside from Timothy Mouse, are the only characters who feel sympathy for Dumbo. I feel that the crows all share a close bond and that they are somewhat outcasts too. And oh yes, they have the most catchy and irresistable song!
Dumbo is such an adorable little elephant. Like similar characters such as Pinocchio and Bambi, he has that round 'pudding like' charm. This gives him the appeal of a human baby. He has adorable little blue eyes which give away all his emotion. He does not speak a single word and yet he moves you to tears. It's the way he acts and his innocent expressions that really talk to you. As well as not being much of a talker, Dumbo isn't much of a thinker either. He just naively follows Timothy mouse, all in his own little world.
The other characters are interesting too. Timothy is a fiesty little rodent with a kind heart. The other elephants remind me of the girls at my school who like nothing more than to gossip. I might also mention the train - Casey Junior. He seems to be alive but he isn't creepy. (Thomas the Tank Engine scared the heck out of me!) He has his own catchy rhythm which is just pure fun to listen to. The Ringmaster has the most funny expressions too!
The soundtrack is a real treat. If you do not tear up during 'Baby Mine,' then please see your doctor for your heart has turned into coal. 'Pink Elephants on Parade' is a funny but slightly disturbing sequence that gets stuck in your head with it's clever lyrics and artistic animation.
Dumbo is a very colourful film, but there are times when life in the circus can be very bleak. In an attempt to protect a her youngster from some harassing boys, Mrs Jumbo is cruelly seperated from her baby and poor Dumbo is ignored by the other elephants. The film expertly conbines the romantic view of the circus - bright lights and colours, animals and clowns with the realities - greed, hard work and animal cruelty. Anyone who thinks that some circuses can be 'humane,' then they'd better see Dumbo as it will change their mind.
Bambi may be at the top for me, but Dumbo is just too good to put down. For a film that's only sixty minutes long, it's a real emotional feast upon the eyes and the mind.
However, I'm only giving four stars because Dumbo really needs restoring and remastering. Hope there's a Platinum Edition coming soon.
Before discussing the video, we should bring back a little history about under what conditions Dumbo was made. Dumbo was the fourth feature film by Disney: 1) Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937), Pinocchio (1940) and Fantasia (1940). After excessive spending on Fantasia, and despite the popularity and critical acclaim heaped upon Snow White, Pinocchio and Fantasia, these films were not moneymakers and Disney studio was almost bankrupt. Additionally, due to the war in Europe, they were cutoff from the overseas market. So, what Disney needed was an inexpensive box office success, and Dumbo was to be it. It would be a relatively short film with a concise story and low production costs that would appeal to a wide audience.
At first glance, and in the context of Disney's own efforts up to then, Dumbo appears less artistic, more cartoony than the three earlier films. In the case of Dumbo, this art has been pared down to the absolute minimum, consistent with pleasing audiences and making money. And Dumbo did make a profit, and is credited for having saved the studio.
This 70th Anniversary Edition film comes in AVC/MPEG-4 1080p 1.37:1. Although this film was made with a lower budget compared to Fantasia or Pinocchio, and the restoration was not as detailed as Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty, the final result is still a very pleasing and amazing picture. Colours are solid and vibrant at times. The transfer is so clear and sharp that strokes from a paintbrush are often noticeable, as well as slight aging of the print and faint blemishes. Dumbo here showcases deep blacks up through clean whites. (4.5/5)
Dumbo's soundtrack has been fully restored and given a brand new lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix that is spacious and dynamic. However, the purists would have preferred that the original Mono and a new Mono lossless track be included.
The film won an Oscar for Best Musical Score and a nomination for the song "Baby Mine". And look at how Disney dramatizes the song in a series of mother and child tableaux, alternating sentiment with deft humour. At least the song had the good taste to lose to the Meryl Steep of composers: Jerome Kern, for "The Last Time I Saw Paris." (4/5)
Dumbo is such a good film, that you can completely understand it without audio, solely based upon its plotting and the characters' expressions. That said, note that neither Dumbo nor his mother talk. Their actions certainly do speak louder than words.
The film is pure emotion; a sweet tale of keeping up one's spirits even in the worst of times. Dumbo is a distillation of everything Disney animators had learned to that point. Animation, remember, is not the art of painting, but bringing drawings to life - to animate the inanimate. It isn't animals that they are breathing life into, it is drawings of animals, or people, or tress, or anything they choose. Its precision in storytelling (film was only 64 minutes long) is groundbreaking for an animated feature.
Dumbo is a sweet and short film about an outsider utilizing his scorned assets to his advantage. Compared to its 60th Anniversary DVD edition, both the video and audio are vastly improved. It is a timeless classic that the whole family will enjoy...again and again. Highly recommended.
One of the shortest, the cheapest and simplest of Disney's animated films, Dumbo also happens to be one of the best. Stung by the fall-out from Fantasia, Disney returned to the story telling qualities that had made Pinocchio so successful. The simple story finds a baby elephant born with over sized ears who is separated from his mother when she's locked away for trying to protect him. Ostracised by his own kind and a figure of fun to the human public, Dumbo skulks away with his only friend, Timothy Q. Mouse. At the pinnacle of their adventure together, Dumbo discovers he has a talent, a talent that will change his life forever.
And that's all there is to it. Only it's a picture that pulls on a myriad of emotions, it's funny, sad, exciting, and a great message movie as well. Delightful for the kids and ever watchable for adults of all ages, it's totally reliant on the animals for characterisations, where amazingly Dumbo is the one animal on show who doesn't speak! But it matters not, such is Disney when on top form, the animation is so great that just from Dumbo's expressions we know how he is feeling. Some wonderful tunes in here as well, including the quite beautiful "Baby Mine", while a surreal hallucination sequence (Pink Elephants On Parade) that plays out as Dumbo and Timothy accidentally drink liquor, is remarkable. There has been some balking at the black characterisations via some jaunty and funky crows, but they are immensely funny and for 1941 they be crafted with love and there's not a hint of being aware to racial stereotypes.
Disney "A" League is Dumbo. 10/10
Disney never did better than this 1941 production, lasting barely over an hour, which shows the travails of the poor rejected elephant in a remarkable adventure that saves its piece de resistance until the very end, when Dumbo does fly, and spectacularly! It's a reworking of The Ugly Duckling, really, but Dumbo does at least have one friend, and in the end becomes further removed from normality, although we don't see what happens after that! I think Disney was at his best with animal characters, and even no humans at all, making this, The Jungle Book and Bambi his best films, I think. The animals fully come to life and have great voices - the female elephants here are priceless - whereas his human characters are bland and stereotyped, with Ken and Barbie heroes and plenty of demonised older women characters, who are too frightening for children in any case. In Dumbo there is none of this, but it is full of humour and pathos and the final coup could only work in a drawn medium, so it is about the most perfect cartoon ending, as well as a superbly gravity-defying one. I wish they would release the one about the operatic whale - it also looks very good on youtube!
on 4 August 2006
I am writing this review partially in response to some of the comments below- something which I would not do usually, which shows just how affected I am by them.
I owned the original VHS of this film, and now the DVD. It still remains the only film that has ever brought me close to tears, both as an adult and a child (I now find the scene where his Mrs. Jumbo realises that Dumbo is gone as heart-wrenching as the famous lullaby sequence). I must have watched it dozens and dozens of times, and the reason why I bought it again was because my memories of it were that I was entertained and moved. The mother-child dynamic was perfect, the characters were all memorable, and the message against animal cruelty was not terribly overt, but still effective ("elephants don't have feelings"- as Dumbo walks past with tears in his eyes). This may seem like part of a past era- and it is- but it does not mean that it is not relevant. Do children now never treat animals badly for amusement, not thinking that they could be in pain? No. Is the circus itself a metaphor for the world that I, in the nineties, not the thirties, grew up in- with playground teasing and ritual public humiliation for those who couldn't stand up for themselves or didn't fit it, and parents desperate to protect their children from this? Yes. This time is one that is shown in 'Dumbo' to be both fascinating and repulsive- something that we should not emulate now. And strangely enough, and no point did I ever feel compelled to believe that the only way to get ahead in life was to make myself 'commercially viable' because of this film- I always thought that Dumbo achieved this through gaining friends through compassion, getting confidence and belief that his 'weakness' could be what made him special, and then proving that to people and animals too engrained in their own prejudices to see sense otherwise. Children don't like being lectured to- they gain their own, innocent insights. Just a thought, from someone who remembers this from a child's perspective- and I was moved and enchanted by the story, the characters and the lovely and sometimes ground-breaking animation. You're either quite like it, or you're absolutely love it.
The early disney film's are pretty much all classics,this is
allmost certainly among the best of them.
These films have enchanted every generation time and time again,ever since the 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs ' became an instant break-through classic, being the first feature length cartoon and one of the earliest
films in colour.
For more than seventy years ' Walt Disney ' cartoon classics have stood the test of time,i suspect this will continue
for the next seventy years and beyond.
'Dumbo' is funny,charming and introduces many memorable characters along the way.all youngster's that havn't seen it will love it ,mum's and dad's shouldn't worry about being drawn in by this film.
Many great characters, charming songs along with a great family-tale.
Good Blu-ray update.......good picture and sound quality throughout.
'enjoy' .. ''i'll think iv'e seen just about everything when i see an elephant fly'
on 26 March 2012
Dumbo is one of the finest Disney animations and still to this day stands tall and proud amongst modern efforts. It is a beautiful blend of story, character and traditional animation that will delight children and adults alike. Its a gentle story of a baby elephant who is considered a freak because of his enormous ears. True to form the message is looks are not everything, for this baby elephant can fly.
Always charming, consistantly funny and at a mere 63 minutes long far from outstays its welcome, this really is a treasure to behold.
Worth a watch whatever your age.