Tim Burton's live-action Dumbo

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Randall » March 15th, 2015, 10:39 am

When I read Glass Elevator to my daughter a few years ago, I remember being grateful no one had tried to make it into a film. It's a weird book, with a plot all over the place. Any adaptation would have to be a loose one.

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Ben » March 15th, 2015, 7:57 pm

Must admit that, having revisited Charlie over the years, I've never felt the need to read Elevator again. Maybe now's the time to refresh myself...

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by GeorgeC » March 16th, 2015, 12:50 am

I certainly liked the first Willy Wonka film with Gene Wilder than the second version with Johnny Depp. That film had a charm that was completely lacking in the second one for me. I could go into numerous reasons why I didn't care for the later film but it would offend Johnny Depp AND Tim Burton fans! I will say that it had some of the weakest music that I've heard from Danny Elfman, too....

The Gene Wilder/Wonka movie also had some elements of the second Dahl/Willy Wonka book in it. The Glass Elevator itself appears at the end of the film.

Honestly, I've gotten out of the mindset of expecting film adaptations of books to be completely faithful. They should be faithful in spirit and basic characterizations but to have every quote and subplot appear in a film version that's two hours long versus a book that could easily take three to four times longer to read is kind of unreasonable.

I actually have seen a couple of films that were BETTER than the books they were based on. Those films tend to be based on earlier/19th century era novels. One of them is 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (the 1950s Disney version). It's a lot better than the original book (for me) because the original book reads like a guidebook/encyclopedia for oceanographers! The scriptwriters who adapted the book wisely chose to strip it down to a core story which I think works better for a film than adapting the book literally ever would. I would imagine the same would be true for Moby Dick (which is more of a guide on how to kill whales in the 19th century than anything else!).

I've also read the Lord of the Rings and felt that the decisions on which parts to leave out from the book-to-film adaptations were excellent. Honestly, I felt those books could have been edited to be at least 25%-35% shorter than how they turned out! I 'm not against long-length novels but honestly the words should all count for something and Tolkien tended to be a bit long-winded for my tastes. (But I still like LOTR better than the Chronicles of Narnia which is much shorter...)
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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Vernadyn » March 17th, 2015, 1:20 am

I'm neither a Depp fan nor a Depp detractor-- I like him in some movies, but not in others. I do have to say that I find Gene Wilder in "shouting" mode a turn-off, for some reason. (Take the scene in Young Frankenstein when he's bringing the creature to life, for instance. Or the last part of his trippy boat ride monologue in Willy Wonka.)

I do wish that Elfman had used the theme that plays under the main titles more. I love how he keeps changing and twisting the melody, turning it in a slightly different and often unexpected direction with each variation. Compare that with the vapidity of most Hollywood film music today. For example, I actually kind of liked the score to Interstellar--I think it's by far the best score to a Nolan film, which is an admittedly low standard. But you know exactly how the music is going to play out, especially in the action scenes--it's going to repeat the theme (such as it exists) the same way over and over, getting louder and louder each time until the theater speakers blow out.

But back to Dumbo--of all the films that did not come out in my lifetime, it's the one that I watched the most growing up. (I saw Fantasia a lot, too.) And my appreciation for it has only grown since then. Not to say that I automatically see a sequel as sacrilege, but it would have to be pretty darn good for me to not dismiss it.

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Ben » March 17th, 2015, 4:54 am

I was actually looking forward to Dumbo II, the proposed Burny Mattinson-directed DTV that would have seen Dumbo and pals lost in the big (1940s) city, and think it could have been one of the best ones,

This remake does seem pointless...its at this point that the blending of animation and "live-action" melds so that they are one and the same.

And Johnny Depp will probably either be a hobo that helps little Dumbo, who will look ugly and silly as a "real" flying elephant, or be the circus ringmaster...

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by EricJ » March 17th, 2015, 8:56 am

Ben wrote:And Johnny Depp will probably either be a hobo that helps little Dumbo, who will look ugly and silly as a "real" flying elephant, or be the circus ringmaster...
So, you're the only person on the planet who doesn't think Depp will spend a week in the recording booth voicing the "quirky" wisecracking CGI Timothy? :roll:

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Ben » March 17th, 2015, 9:31 am

No, I'm one of two...Tim Burton is the other one.

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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by ShyViolet » March 17th, 2015, 10:56 am

I'm betting on the circus ringmaster. :)
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Re: Yes, they are working on a live-action Dumbo

Post by Vernadyn » March 18th, 2015, 2:37 pm

Burton's last two films haven't had Depp…. Of course, such an interminable Depp dry spell may only make Burton more eager to use him again.

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Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Dacey » April 4th, 2019, 2:36 pm

We didn't appear to have a thread for this (even though we've been discussing it a lot elsewhere), but here we go...

The film almost works. I'd even venture to say that it's pretty good. It's just a shame it's not still better than it is, because there's a lot that's good here.

For starters, there's the casting of Danny DeVito and Micheal Keaton, with both of them fitting into their roles perfectly. Keaton, clearly having a great time, is appropriately slimey as the villain, sort of a deranged take on Walt Disney, complete with a nostalgic but also quite nightmarish theme park to call his own. DeVito, meanwhile, is wonderfully warm and funny as the ringmaster, a bit of a con artist but also a good man who's ultimately too naive for his own good. The ringmaster, in a sense, is a relic, a piece of a bygone era that Keaton's character is able to exploit, and the Burton fanboy in me loved seeing him and DeVito essentially reversing the roles they had in Batman Returns.

Then there's Dumbo himself, who's of course adorable, and captures the audience's hearts despite not exactly having 'main character' status here. Dumbo is 'born' this time rather than delivered by a stork (though there is still an homage to that when he arrives), as overall this film is much more of a re-imagining than a remake. The key events of Dumbo, for better or for worse, are trunk-ated into the movie's first act, which works in some ways and not so much in others. I was fine with the film essentially serving as an unofficial "sequel" to the original, asking the question of what exactly happens to a simple circus once it gets its hands on something bigger than it realizes such as, well, a flying elephant. The downside to this is that Baby Mine happens way too early for it to have the emotional impact it does in the original (but darn it, I got teary anyway!), when it happens at just the right time in the story. As a narrative, the original film is a tough nut to crack: its centered around an elephant the audience knows is going to fly, yet the story treats his flight as a sort of plot twist, and seven minutes after his finally does so, the movie is over. It makes perfect sense in a re-telling, for my money anyway, to have Dumbo fly much earlier, as there's no need to make the audience wait that long for something they want to see a lot of. Even in an era filled with dazzling special effects, the sight of Eva Green (also quite warm here, even if she's not given as much to do as DeVIto) riding on Dumbo still earns a genuine "wow."

But there is, as I've already noted, some unevenness. I loved the references to the original Dumbo, of which there were plenty, such as DeVito gleefully singing "Casey Jr." in an almost drunken manner to himself, and the somewhat meta "we're not going to have Dumbo get drunk this time" joke is probably the biggest laugh in the film. But there are other things that I wish had more traction behind them. Pink Elephants is still present (with Elfman behind it, natch, and his score helps elevate most of the film greatly!), but it feels like somewhere where Burton could've gone all out "Burton weird" and gotten away with it. The crows aren't here, as one would figure, but they do find an unexpectedly fun way to incorporate "When I See an Elephant Fly" into the film via a fun cameo. As for Timothy, he has an appearance so brief that I expect many audiences won't even catch it.

The ending, however, gets a little too politically correct, to the point where it actually feels kind of silly, and this marks the third live-action Disney movie in a row in which the loss of a mother is crucial to the plot (not saying that as a bad thing, just an observation). Weirdly enough, the movie might be most comparable to "Tomorrowland," another film in which many aspects worked so well that it kind of broke your heart for not being more "satisfying" once it's all over. It's still good, but I have a feeling I at least will be more pleased by the upcoming Aladdin and Lion King films.
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Re: Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Randall » April 4th, 2019, 11:13 pm

"Trunk-ated." Good one. :)

I get the same vibe from the trailers--- there's magic to be had, but you kind of expect it to fall a little short. Still, I look forward to seeing it. The fact that it's more a re-imagining makes me look forward to Dumbo more than Aladdin or TLK.

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Re: Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Ben » April 5th, 2019, 5:09 am

Not that I’m as bothered by spoilers as the rest of the net, but are you saying Jumbo Jr doesn’t flap his ears and fly until gut at the end of the movie? The soundtrack listing, which otherwise appears to be chronological, indicates that there are at least two other much earlier moments that we see him take flight? Even though we never really saw Dumbo fly in Walt's film until the end, it feels like this kind of leaves us dangling for a long time before we see what we’ve come to see!?

Likewise, the soundtrack isn’t wowing me, I have to say. I know it’s Elfman returning to score things he’s scored before, but even so...I just keep hearing allusions to other, more memorable scores in there, not least Edward Scissorhands.

Nevertheless, this will be a day one 4K pickup for me...hopefully available before late July/early August, eh Rand? ;)

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Re: Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Dacey » April 5th, 2019, 2:10 pm

Dumbo flies within the first half hour or so (sorry if my wording was confusing). What I was saying was that I was fine with him doing so, rather than following the story of the original and saving his flight for the climax (as I said, the majority of the film more or less works as a "sequel" to Walt's Dumbo, in that it focuses on how the world exactly responds to a flying elephant).
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Re: Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Randall » April 6th, 2019, 2:14 pm

Ben wrote:Nevertheless, this will be a day one 4K pickup for me...hopefully available before late July/early August, eh Rand? ;)
Save me a seat! :)

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Re: Tim Burton's Dumbo

Post by Daniel » April 24th, 2019, 2:26 pm

Dacey wrote:
April 4th, 2019, 2:36 pm
We didn't appear to have a thread for this (even though we've been discussing it a lot elsewhere), but here we go...
Ahem. ;)

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