Given the massive success of their live-action adaptations of their classic animated films (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book) Disney is returning to the vault for a live-action version of Dumbo. The first teaser dropped today, with a lush and melancholy trailer that builds out the world of the original film. Tim Burton directed the film, following up from his previous Disney adaptation, Alice in Wonderland, which went on to gross over $1 billion at the box office.
Dumbo fleshes out the human world of the tale by centering the story on Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell), a war veteran and former circus star who lost his arm in battle. Holt and his children, Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins), care for the young elephant with the big floppy ears who learns to fly. The film also stars Burton favorites Danny DeVito, as ringleader Max Medici, and Eva Green, as aerialist star Colette Marchant. However, I’m most excited about Burton’s team-up with Michael Keaton, who plays entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere. This will be Keaton’s first time working with Burton since 1992’s Batman Returns.
Burton is an especially adept choice for adapting one of Disney’s darker classics, and Norwegian singer-songwriter Aurora sets the tone of the film with her haunting rendition of “Baby Mine”, the song that Dumbo’s mother sings to her baby elephant. But perhaps what I’m most looking forward to is the lack of Johnny Depp in this film. While Burton and Depp seem to be attached at the hip, Depp’s frequent over-costumed mugging has produced some of the least enjoyable Burton films. Don’t get me wrong, Edward Scissorhands was a masterpiece and I stan for the underrated Sleepy Hollow, but I found Depp to be a wildly distracting presence in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. That severe bob he wore as Wonka will haunt me forever. In fact, that whole film will haunt me forever. Here’s hoping Dumbo will shine and Depp won’t be popping out of a barrel as Timothy Q. Mouse.
(via Polygon, image: Disney)
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