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Dumbo (2019) [4K UHD review]

Dumbo didn’t bother me. When it first dropped, I was in the middle of building the latest redesign and I kinda missed the opportunity to talk about it. Nevertheless, I got to watch the Internet flip the hell out over the latest Disney live-action restaging. Well, what is it going to be kids?

You either want to see these restaging attempts or you don’t care. After the recent up-and-down Box Office performance of Aladdin and now the impending Beyonce driven Lion King, one has to wonder something. Does anyone really care about these remake attempts?


What works for me about this latest Disney trend is the power of coming after decades. Sure, you lose Jim Crow and his flock of questionable avian choices. But, you get the opportunity to mine the source material much closer. Sometimes, this leads to grandiose third acts that milk every inch of the setting.

Tim Burton is guilty of excess. However, when mixed with his more straightforward approach as an older director, it creates something distracting. While it makes the rural circus feel real, it plays almost like he’s trying to make Bioshock when the film reaches Coney Island. You forget that there’s a flying elephant in the film due to the grandiose nature of the 1929 futurist take on Coney Island.

The Disney live-action re-imaginings are so bizarre in that way. It’s almost like there isn’t enough material to mine in a 70 minute animated feature from the Cold War era. That being said, I feel like the teams behind these movies are getting closer to finding that right mix. It just hasn’t happened yet.


Still, I love the CG work on Dumbo. I’m far from a softie, but Dumbo in the clown makeup is one of my favorite images of 2019 cinema. While that’s not enough to overlook missteps in a film, I just adore that CG face. This is what happens when you have kids, people.

The 4K UHD disc is another Disney winner. The Dolby Atmos track makes everything from Casey Jr to Pink Elephants and the Coney Island fire scenes come to life. I just wish the 4K transfer wasn’t an upscale job. Sure, it fooled me on first viewing. But, then we took it to the big screen and wha-boom.

The special features are a fun mix, but they are what’s included on the Blu-ray. The Deleted Scenes showed off a ton of creative choices that I found interesting. Other than that, it’s a respectable package. I’d recommend giving it a shot. Especially for clown-face Dumbo.

Dumbo arrives on June 25th!

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