Disney continues its recent theme of live action reimaginings of their animated classics and this morning we got our first peak at one that has many excited, “Dumbo”. While the first trailer for “Dumbo” doesn’t offer us too much to sink our teeth into we get a good idea of what to expect with our first peak into how the famous elephant will look, a reveal of the villain and major characters and an idea of the tone Director Tim Burton will bring to the picture. Let’s not waste any time. Here’s a break down of the first trailer for 2019’s “Dumbo”. Give me your feedback on the trailer in the comments and you can view the trailer at the bottom of the page.
The short 1 minute and 21 second teaser trailer starts off strong with a soft rendition of a familiar song playing in the background. This is a modernized version of “Baby Mine”, the tear-jerking ballad featured in one of the most tender moments of the original “Dumbo” film. It’s immediately a nice nod to the classic 1940s animated feature and sets the mood for a trailer that promises emotion and amazement from the final product. We see our first look at the circus that will be the setting for the film along with a coincidentally designed weather vane with elephants on it, a parent leading a child in fact. This is a neat reference to Dumbo’s relationship with his mother which, of course, is the basis of the film. There has been debate over whether or not this movie will lean as heavily on the mother-child dynamic but we’ll touch on that soon.
Anyways “Baby Mine” plays over a shot of an elephant looking out of her cage seeing white birds flying away. It would be safe to bet these are the storks, the famous birds that brought babies to the animals at the beginning of the original film. This teases that Dumbo could be delivered the same way in this live action movie and if so it’s safe to assume the elephant we see peaking from the cage is Dumbo’s mother Jumbo. We then get our first look at the family that will spend much of their time with Dumbo. Colin Ferrell plays Holt Farrier, a war veteran who will be hired to care for Dumbo and appears to have lost his left arm, and his two kids Milly and Joe played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins. The kids at least appear to be seeing Dumbo for the first time and, as the trailer soon reveals, this scene seems to take place prior to Dumbo and his mother being separated. Milly tells Dumbo, still hidden beneath a bale of hay, that they are family (probably meaning the circus in general) and then we finally see the star of the show himself.
Dumbo makes his first appearance on screen uncovering himself from the hay and making just the most adorable little sound you can imagine. Now pictures of the elephant have surfaced in recent months to give us a look at what we can expect from the film and I have to say I do like the design. It’s not very over the top and captures the adorable nature of the main character with innocent blue eyes and those iconic flabby ears. Dumbo also looks detailed and somewhat realistic with a touch of Disney flair so hopefully the CGI holds up this well throughout the whole films.
Next we see shots of the circus where Dumbo is kept. The circus is called “Dreamland” and we get an opportunity to see at least one performer that will play a part in Dumbo’s story, Eva Green’s trapeze artist Collette. What transpires after that however is an important, but subtle few moments where we see Dumbo surrounded by the Farriers and others as a trailer rides away. Dumbo seems to be in distress and we can then assume that the trailer carries his mother. This is the moment where the teaser pretty much confirms that the 2019 “Dumbo” will be a new take on the same story as before as Dumbo finds himself separated from his loving mother by some fashion. The trailer doesn’t say how but this could very well be one of the most emotionally charged parts of the film. I mean it should be right? This broke my heart as a kid in the animated movie.
After a few stylized words show up on screen to tout the film as a familiar tale told anew We see a shot of Michael Keaton. This is the movie’s villain, V.A. Vandemere, who buys Dreamland to make a killing off of the unique Dumbo, who we then see being lifted into the air in the same fashion as the finale of the original film. It’s unclear here if the possibility of Dumbo’s flight has been revealed, either that or Vandemere is sadistic enough to try and make money off of Dumbo’s quirky ears without any care for his life. We don’t learn much about the villain from these few shots but it does tell us he sees Dumbo as a way to make profit and it’s very familiar to the abuse of the animal in the first film that led to the discovery of his flight. Keaton has been known to play great villains in the past so this role has potential.
As the trailer draws to a close we see scattered scenes from throughout the movie showing more circus performers but also a pretty neat appearance of a pink bubble elephant. It’s a quick shot but this is clearly a reference to the famous “Pink Elephants” scenes from the original movie. This to me was one of the coolest teasers in this trailer because that moment, which involved a drunken Dumbo hallucinating, is one of the most well-known parts of the movie’s legacy. Seeing how Tim Burton spins it is an exciting possibility and whether or not they follow the same idea as the original movie I look forward to seeing a new interpretation of such an iconic moment from animation. I just hope this isn’t some one off reference where a kid blows a bubble that just happens to take this shape.
The final ten seconds of the trailer consists of shots of several main characters, including ones mentioned above a new ones like Danny DeVito’s ringmaster Medici, looking up at Dumbo as he is risen above the crowd. This appears to be a continuation of the scene I described earlier and the concern on the faces of these characters says that it’s likely at this point Dumbo’s safety is considered compromised and his ability to fly is unknown. This speaks to the possible relationship the rest of the cast will have with Vandemere especially if they believe he’s recklessly putting Dumbo in danger. But, as we see briefly, Dumbo does in fact fly (big shocker I know) as we see a couple of quick shots of his gliding over the crowd and through the circus tent. The trailer ends there with a smash cut to the title card.
So what did we get from this first look trailer of “Dumbo”? Honestly the trailer doesn’t show us much at all, which is why it’s simply called a “teaser”, but it does give us glimpses at the villain, the design of Dumbo and the relationship he will have with some of the humans. However, it also teases the possibility that Dumbo may take a back seat in his own movie and that the humans might be put front and center. The original film was fine focusing mostly on the animals so I’m not sure if I’d like too much human action in the film, but it’s only a brief trailer so it’s hard to tell what the balance will be right now. What we can see is that Tim Burton doesn’t plan to make this the dark and brooding story he’s used to telling, although I will admit the pallet is a darker tone that I expected and I had to brighten a few of these photos. The project does look more fun and emotionally driven and seems to be a lot closer to the original film than Burton’s last foray into the Disney’s live action slate with “Alice in Wonderland”. I love the early looks at Dumbo’s design and little tidbits like the pink elephant bubble and the storks tease some carryover magic from the first movie that have me more excited than anything else the trailer offers to be honest. We’ll have to wait for a full trailer to see more and we’ll be waiting until March of 2019 to see the project in full.