Friday, June 12, 2009

Dumbo (1941)

"Dumbo" is Walt Disney's 4th feature length animated film.  It is the story of a little elephant with big ears named Dumbo.  When kids at the circus start to harass Dumbo for his big ears, his mother, Mrs. Jumbo, goes on a rampage attacking the audience.  Mrs. Jumbo is then locked up and kept in isolation.  Dumbo is still forced to work for the circus, even though he is unbelievably depressed.  Thanks to Dumbo's friend Timothy Mouse, Dumbo realizes he can fly due to his big ears.  He uses his newly acquired power to become rich, famous, and ultimately live happily ever after with his mother.

"Dumbo" is one of the saddest movies I have ever seen.  I cry every time I see it.  When Dumbo's mother gets locked up, it is incredibly sad.  At one point in the film, Dumbo visits his mother, but she is only able to stick her trunk out the window.  She rocks him with her trunk while the song "Baby Mine" is playing.  This is where I lose it every time.  

The most famous scene of the film is the Pink Elephants on Parade segment.  It is scary and fascinating all at the same time.  Dumbo has drank alcohol by accident and starts to hallucinate these pink elephants dancing.  It is some of the most original animation to ever be done in a film.  The animators must have had a ball doing this scene.

My favorite song in the movie is "When I See an Elephant Fly".  This song is sung by a group of crows that find Dumbo and Timothy sleeping in a tree.  While many people say that the Disney company is racist for having these black crows speak like African Americans, it doesn't really bug me.  That is how times were back then.  Each crow is very distinctive in their own right, being led by Jim Crow voiced by Cliff Edwards.  Edwards was also the voice of Jiminy Cricket in "Pinocchio".

The character of Dumbo is one of the best animated characters to ever be produced by Disney.  So much is expressed through his animation.  Dumbo does not have one word of dialogue, but thanks to the incredible animation, you always know what he is feeling and what he is thinking.  It is an amazing achievement.

"Dumbo" is the shortest feature from Walt Disney coming in just over 60 minutes.  It has remained a classic for more than 70 years and it will be around for all time.  If a viewer does not feel anything for Dumbo, then they have no heart.  You can not help becoming attached to cute little Dumbo.  I am going to buy a baby elephant right now...

A-  I recommend it.

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