For Mother’s Day, Daisy and I took our (surprise!) Mum to the Picturehouse in Exeter to see the much debated live action remake of Dumbo – though it’s not really live action cos the elephant doesn’t actually fly. DISAPPOINTING.
Never ones to shy away from a theme, the Picturehouse have absolutely gone to town on drenching the whole place with anything Dumbo themed, which as a woman who enjoys a carnival vibe I am very much here for. Bunting everywhere, the front desk transformed, Dumbo-themed pizza and cocktails available – they’re giving it a right old push! In the words of Ron Swanson – never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.
So a very modest glass of wine each in the bar and we are already thoroughly submersed in the world of the Medici’s Brother’s Circus, home to all your favourite classics: strong man, mice wearing clothes, lady who’s a mermaid? Sure.
There’s also the legendary horse riding and stunts of Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), who’s fresh back from the war with one arm and therefore not quite up to his old tricks. He’s raising two very, very cute circus children on his own, since their mother has died in his absence.
Enter a baby elephant, and you know the rest.
I absolutely loved it. What’s your problem world? Is Dumbo not cute enough?! Do you not care about him finding his mum again?! Why is nothing ever good enough for you?
I am entirely biased to love a film that leaves me feeling happy (actually that sounds dumb, who wouldn’t be?) and this left me all full of magic and joy and just a really good wholesome feeling. There’s no one better placed than Tim Burton to build a whole world and invite you into it: and I was more than willing to spend almost 2 hours in this one.
The best performances are easily Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito as the singular Medici brother and Nico Parker, playing the little girl who’s hell bent on reuniting Dumbo with his mum. She’s so sweet hearted and strong-headed and basically carries the film on her small shoulders (her brother on the other hand is given hardly anything to do, but does his lesser part well).
But the thing that’s totally irresistible about it is obviously Dumbo. He is so fucking cute it made my heart feel like it was going to POP every time he started flying. Those bits are so lovely to watch, with the soaring music and the excited crowds – it was really intensely emotional and I kept having to remind myself that he is not a real baby elephant and that I should probably calm down.
Saying that, I cried a fair amount. Not like Christopher Robin dehydration levels of crying, but a lot of sniffling and face wiping and tissue grabbing. Any scene that had both him and his mum in, or any mention of them being separated…I can’t even with it.
DIFFERING OPINION: I heard a lady behind us say ‘God that wasn’t nearly as sad as I thought it would be!‘ at the end so I guess some people don’t have a heart.
Michael Keaton as the baddie who wants to use Dumbo for pure circus profits is literally so weird and I don’t know what at all he was trying to do with the character. Also Eva Green is a bit strange and does very little in the way of acrobatics despite us being frequently told she’s the queen of the heavens! etc. Daisy informed me afterwards that she did her own stunts, which is easy to believe as there basically aren’t any.
At the end of the film my Mum said “That was too sad and I never want to watch it ever again” so an enjoyable Mother’s Day had by all.