I have to admit, I wasn't super excited to see this movie. Dumbo is one of my least favorite animated Disney movies so I wasn't hyped up for the live action version. However, we are in France, and only so many movies are available in English, and it was offered at a discount, and we've been a bit bored in the countryside so... off we went.
Unfortunately, I should have listened to my instinct to not be excited about this one. The one good thing I will say is that the visuals and special effects were incredible - Dumbo was adorable and I could really feel emotions coming from a CGI elephant. Impressive. But everything else sucked.
The storyline was stupid. None of the characters had any real depth or growth. All of the bad characters were bad just for the sake of being bad, they had no real motivation to do what they did. In fact, the main bad guy worked against his own best interest just for the sake of being bad, twice! Even the "good" characters were shallow, one-dimensional, and repetitive. Case in point - one of the recurring themes was the dad (Colin Farrel) just didn't know how to talk to his kids, only their mother knew how to do that. Um, here's a thought - just treat them like they are human beings! Instead, he ignored and dismissed them constantly, while bemoaning the fact that he didn't know how to relate to them. Dumb.
We didn't write about Mary Poppins Returns when we saw it England (months after everyone else had seen it) but I feel about Dumbo the same way I felt about that - Disney needs to spend a little less money on big name actors and special effects, and throw some more money at the writers. Because if your story sucks, it doesn't matter what else is good about the movie, it will suck. I'd pass on Dumbo (the original and this one) and watch something else altogether.