Dumbo, Walt Disney’s fourth animated featured film, is finally being released on Blu-ray – and let me tell you – the transfer to Blu-ray looks incredible.
Let me start off by saying that Dumbo is not one of my favorite Disney movies, in fact it’s probably near the bottom of the list for me (when talking about the theatrical releases). But, that’s like saying it’s my least favorite Picasso painting – every feature film that Walt Disney was involved with has its own special appeal to it. Each one is a unique piece of art that may require a certain taste in order to appreciate it for what it is, and that is exactly what Dumbo is for me. Dumbo has always been lacking that Disney quality – that Disney good versus evil storyline that is featured in every film. Sure, there’s the kids in the beginning pulling on Dumbo’s ears – and there’s the older elephants that ostracize him and his mother, but I feel it just needed a little more or a storyline – more substance to keep my attention. But instead they give us “Pink Elephants on Parade”, a lengthy song sequence that just seemed out of place and rather boring.
Both of the lead characters, Dumbo and Timothy Mouse, are so likeable in this film. It’s hard to like a character that doesn’t talk, but I think they nailed it on the head when it comes to Dumbo. He shows all of his emotions on his face and through his actions, and the animators knew exactly what they were doing. And because the animation wasn’t as detailed as Bambi or Snow White, I loved the scene where we see the clowns through the tent. Instead of showing us what’s going on inside of it, we get an outside look as they cast shadows on the wall. Artistically, this movie was an ingenious approach to animation.
Let’s talk a little about the Blu-ray release. As I said earlier, the transfer to Blu-ray is amazing. It’s as if it were made today. Maybe it’s because Dumbo is drawn and colored with less detail than most other Disney animated features, but the colors stand out like no other Disney Blu-ray release. The special features are solid as well, I really enjoyed watching the making of Dumbo. It really gave me insight to the struggles the Walt Disney corporation was facing during (and before) the production of Dumbo – and how this was the success that they needed to keep the company going.
The Bottom Line: It may be one of my least favorite Disney animated movies, but I love nearly everything this company has given us over the years and this is still a good movie to watch that has a solid morally uplifting story that every child should see. It may be a little dull for my taste, but I can easily overlook that by staring at the artistic genius at work.
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