Disney is careening headlong down their path of live action remakes. Their latest announcement is Dumbo.
The shy circus elephant who had the power to fly all along will hit the big screen again in 2018. Tim Burton is set to direct. Although that might sound like an odd choice, his brand of dark and disturbing weirdness isn’t such a bad fit for Dumbo.
Remember that booze-fueled pink elephant nightmare number from the original movie?
The Original Dumbo was Already Tim Burton Material
Tim Burton is an old hand to taking an existing book or film and using it as a launching point for something much stranger. His skewed perspectives on Alice in Wonderland, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory proved that he has a talent for sniffing out the most twisted corners of beloved properties.
He’s also already one of the “cool kids” at Disney, having made his mainstream big break with Halloween/Christmas classic The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Of course, he’s not always on point. Remember that awful Planet of the Apes remake?
For Dumbo, though, he seems like a natural fit. Aside from the pink elephants sequence, Dumbo is already a pretty strange flick. It comes from an older era of Disney, when crows named Jim didn’t raise any eyebrows, and the idea of a flying elephant was simply accepted with no explanation at all.
The movie also had a talking train engine, which just plain doesn’t fit in a movie with talking animals. You can have talking stuff, or you can have talking animals. Both at once is oddly unsettling.
Different from the Original
Although Disney hasn’t released any details on the live action Dumbo, a few snippets of news are leaking out.
Colin Farrell is said to be in negotiations for a role as Holt, a widowed father whose daughters become friends with Dumbo. Eva Green is also likely to star in the film as a trapeze artist.
These human characters weren’t in the original film at all, which focused entirely on Dumbo’s efforts to learn to fly and be accepted at the circus. Originally, he was aided by crows, a mouse, a train, and his fellow elephants.
It sounds like Burton replaced many of those animal (and train) characters with humans. Not surprising, since no human characters would make Dumbo another Lion King CGI-fest.
No word on which, if any, voice acted characters remain in the film. Dumbo himself, if you recall, doesn’t speak.
Dumbo is set for release in 2018. Stay tuned as details arrive.