I was lucky enough to see a preview screening of Dumbo on Monday. I had to take a few days to volunteer at the kids school and watch the old Dumbo. You will see a million reviews for Dumbo, the viewers thoughts on the movie, whether or not its safe for kids (It is a tad intense in a few spots and I would advise against it for younger kids. You know your child best. I would have taken Rae in a heartbeat but Rae’s favorite movie was Coraline from the time she was 2.), does it live up to the hype, does it live up to the nostalgic aspect and more. But for me, I thought I’d share some of the big differences and similarities between the two versions as well as my general thoughts. Dumbo: Old vs New an in depth review and comparison.
Dumbo: Old Vs New- The Characters
We have the obvious characters that cannot be changed, Dumbo and Mrs. Jumbo. But then we have some characters that have been changed up a bit.
Timothy vs Milly and Joe
In the original movie the main character that teaches Dumbo to fly is Timothy the mouse and the crows. In the new movie, as it is live action, they have to change those characters up a bit and we get Milly and Joe Farrier. They are the kids of Holt Farrier who becomes the elephant trainer when he arrives back to the circus after being in the War.
Other Character Changes
We see some other small changes in the characters as far as plot as well. In the original movie the person that makes Mrs. Jumbo become a protective mama is a random patron at the circus while in the new movie Rufus the old elephant trainer performs the same plot twist. The one character that always meant a lot to us as kids that is missing is the stork. While a stork does appear for a few seconds in the new movie, it is not the same baby delivery animal as in the original. This loses a bit of the little kid nostalgia for me.
Dumbo: Old Vs New- The Scenery
I think the biggest thing that stood out to me in comparing the two movies was the train. In both movies, you are introduced to Casey Jr. early in the movie. The crew at Disney obviously took great care in remaking the Casey Jr in the new movie. You can almost count the spokes and bars on the original train and compare it directly to the new version. I noticed right away that the new version really looks like the old train from the coal car to the flat cars holding the circus vehicles. They even replicated the colors as close as possible!
Dumbo: Old Vs New – The Plot
How does the plot measure up? Well there is one huge difference. The 1941 Dumbo is focused mostly on the set up of getting Dumbo to fly, dealing with the bullying from the patrons and other animals at the circus, Dumbo being a clown with the movie ending with the scene where Dumbo flies. The new movie gives us so much more for plot. While we do have all of those aspects, we have the plot line of trying to reunite Dumbo with Mrs. Jumbo. I love this aspect. It gives an extra hour of movie time and adds more plot twists. There is also the subplot of the buying and selling of circus animals which really was happening in 1919. This is the same year that Ringling Bros purchased the Barnum & Bailey Circus. One of the best scenes is the fire scene and that is still there with some extra intensity.
Dumbo: Old Vs New – Baby Mine
My absolute most favorite part of the movie Dumbo is the song Baby Mine. The original makes me cry every time. I sang the song to Charlie the entire time I was pregnant and continued for years after. You see we struggled so much to have our kids and had lost 3 children before Charlie entered this world so I knew what it was like to love a little being with all my heart and soul and to be away from them. I was a tad concerned when this trailer came out for Dumbo as the new version of Baby Mine seemed to take an eerie and sinister tone to it:
However I can say that the song in the movie is slightly different in tone and feels more reminiscent of the original song. Is it the same? Nope but no version is exactly the same.
Dumbo: Old Vs New – My Thoughts
Special Meaning to Our Family
Dumbo has a special meaning to our family. Only twice now have I been able to share a movie preview screening with my sister. Dumbo was a must for us to see together. I absolutely loved being able to sit next to her and take in our childhood again.
Disney’s Take on Making Dumbo More Adult
One of the things I dislike about a lot of the remakes of these movies is that they tend to go a tad more adult especially in the language area. I can say there was only one curse word I heard in the whole movie and it was from my sister. There is one scene where the entire theater jumped and shrieked and she cursed. I had to immediately hush her! I love that Disney did not take this to the overly adult side. Even though they did not take it to the adult side, it is still very much a movie that an adult can watch and enjoy.
Did I Sleep Through Dumbo?
As I’ve said before one of my meters for how good a movie is happens to be whether or not I fall asleep during it. I had been running nonstop since Thursday and living on a little sleep and was almost asleep before the movie started. However, I did not sleep at all during Dumbo. I was entranced and enjoyed every second of the movie.
Is it the same Dumbo from 1941?
NO, not in the least. It is more intense and loses some of the innocent child nostalgia but it is also not an animated movie. Dumbo is a live action movie that takes our tried and true story and expands on it to new levels. I would advise against it for younger children as there are a few scenes that are rather intense. My recommended age would be around 8-9. As I said above I would have taken Rae at 4-5 though as she is in to dark and intense movies.
Get Social with Dumbo
Dumbo releases on March 29, 2019