“From the imagination of Tim Burton” seems like a bit of a stretch, unless his imaginings are mainly based on watching old Disney films and then making them a bit different.
It was Burton who kicked off Disney’s current preoccupation with live action remakes of their animated classics with his weird, colourful take on Alice in Wonderland back in the distant days of 2010. While that first step into nostalgia actually used a very Burton-esque visual style, the following slew seemed to fetishise their animated counterparts, slavishly recreating the visuals and finding actors to match the drawings that came before them.
Dumbo seems to be going more along that path with plenty of echoes of Disney’s 1941 classic. Although that film is full of great moments and memorable songs (except that creepy one with the train, oh and when they’re putting up the tent – that’s also terrifying), it’s a pretty slight affair lasting just over an hour. But it packs in plenty to that hour with parental separation, a friendship between a mouse and elephant, getting drunk for the first time, and some weird stuff with clown firemen.
Based on this trailer, it seems the narrative has been fleshed out with human characters, with Colin Farrell acting deuteragonist who talks to Dumbo rather than the cartoon’s anthropomorphic rodent Timothy Q. Mouse. Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Danny DeVito also star.
Dumbo arrives in theatres on 29 March 2019.