Live Action Dumbo Can Only Be Tim Burton’s Revenge
by Gerry Conway
After a miserable time at the movies last night, I’ve come to the conclusion that Tim Burton’s grim and joyless “Dumbo” is an auteur triumph.
SPOILERS AHEAD. (Though for this movie, “spoiler” is descriptive as well as a warning label.)
I don’t recommend “Dumbo,” but I admire it. Burton has accomplished something almost startling with this film: he’s made a movie that is about as unsubtle a “f**k you” to both his corporate sponsors and the audience as one could get without actually superimposing “F*CK YOU!” on every frame. Contempt for Disney and for the audience that gobble up the company’s live action remakes of classic animated films oozes from every shot, every scene, and in particular, from the entire second half of the movie. If some films are a love letter, this is hate mail. Tim Burton clearly hates how Disney is exploiting the animated films he cherished as a child, and “Dumbo” is his bitter revenge.