Ever since the launch of this Disney+ thing, I’ve been consistently and constantly reminded by Instagram stories, tweets and Facebook posts that Disney does very much still exist. It’s not like I needed reminding, my aversion to their films at this point is no accident. With the lack of nostalgia I hold for these products, it’s certainly interesting at times to pop back in time and see if they actually hold up without the hazy tint of vivid childhood memories. Dumbo then is gracefully one of the shortest feature length films on offer by Disney. Somehow for a product so short it still doesn’t manage to avoid the incessant pitfalls of all their other films.
Although I’ve kicked Dumbo while he’s down, I can’t do anything but credit the animation on this one. Definitely the most visually rewarding Disney film I’ve seen so far, even if it is just for those last ten minutes that have little narrative weight. It’s an entertaining visual to look at briefly, certainly hindering itself by the first forty minutes of sheer boredom that Dumbo opens up with. Who would’ve thought a film where an elephant learns to face its fear of bullying through the powers of flight would be the plot of a feature length film. I’m still not sure whether or not that is in fact what actually happened, Dumbo isn’t exactly the strongest narrative on the whole.
Directed by six separate individuals who if individually listed in this review would eat up my word count provide us with some borderline enjoyable scenes from time to time. Maybe the main problem for me is that I simply didn’t care for Dumbo itself. A cute little elephant with big ears isn’t really all that much of a protagonist for someone like me to cling onto, and I doubt kids would enjoy it all that much either. Even then, I can understand that Dumbo is much more oriented towards a younger audience. Or at least I would understand that if it weren’t for the final ten minutes wherein we see an entertainingly visual, borderline creepy segment.
The story on the whole is pretty boring. There’s no other way of describing it. Mundane and pretty dull on the whole, we follow Dumbo, the circus elephant and the harsh living conditions. At least he hits the big leagues as a cool elephant, I guess that makes up for his harrowing living conditions. Who knows, but then again, who honestly cares? This is a Disney classic, for the same reason people have affectionate memories for films like Valiant or Flushed Away. Sheer nostalgia fuel for a generation of audiences that were stuck with this sort of maddeningly dull Disney trash when at a mentally dull age.