What you may need to know
1. That live-action remake of DUMBO (1941) you didn’t ask for is almost here.
2. Alongside the Mary Poppins sequel, The Lion King remake, the Aladdin remake, the Lady and the Tramp remake and the Mulan remake, what we have here is proof that innovation and modernism is the name of the game at Disney right now.
3. Director Tim Burton has arranged a decent cast, to be fair. Colin Farrell plays a “one-armed war veteran and former circus star” hired to care for a baby elephant who, his children discover, can fly.
4. Burton alumni Danny DeVito and Michael Keaton play a kindly circus owner and ruthless entrepreneur (hmm) respectively. If there isn’t an overt reference to Batman Returns (1992) in there somewhere, I’ll be very upset. Eva Green, meanwhile, is also a Burton regular.
5. Johnny Depp was in talks to play the elephant, but the deal fell through when he kept insisting on more prosthetics, despite it being a motion capture gig.
6. Burton’s gothic aesthetic felt tired a long time ago. Other than the earlier stuff where he made his name, he’s been much better in the colourful art-deco storybook stylings that are on show here. The likes of Big Fish (2003) and, er, Big Eyes (2014) have been far more memorable than anything else he’s done since the 90s.
7. It’s worth noting that another Burton mega-regular, Danny Elfman, is on soundtrack duty
8. Lack of originality aside, this does look quite lovely. Despite Dumbo being a beloved children’s movie everyone watched 30 years ago, adapting Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl’s novel (also 1941) is probably a safe distance from “stop ruining my childhood” territory, so I’m fairly on board with this.
Doug’s verdict: I’m all ears
Release: March 29, 2019 (because there’ll probably be nothing else to talk about that day)