Monday, January 7, 2013
It begins as storks are delivering babies to all of the animals, including the animals of a circus in Florida. Everyone seems to be getting a baby, except Mrs. Jumbo, one of the elephants. Of course, her stork is just running a little behind, and she eventually is delivered little Jumbo Jr., who is discouragingly nicknamed Dumbo by the others because of his enormous ears. Mrs. Jumbo doesn't care, and loves her little boy with all her heart. When she gets angry and lashes out at people who make fun of Dumbo, they're separated, and Dumbo finds himself having to make his own way, with only a small mouse as his friend and mentor.
Sounds like a downer of a movie, and thankfully Disney's 7 credited directors don't skimp on the emotion attached to either mother or child. We get multiple beautifully heartbreaking moments, as Dumbo does what he can to succeed, and to ultimately be reconnected with his mother. Dumbo himself doesn't really make much of an impression, even though he's exactly the kind of silent hero I usually love so much. The supporting cast steals the show, a recurring happening in Disney movies. Dumbo's mouthy mouse friend, the petty and easily hateable other elephants, and even the controversial crows steal the show. The crows, if you haven't seen the movie, are fairly offensive black stereotypes, which audiences may or may not have noticed in 1941 when the movie came out, but post Civil Rights movement, can't help but stick out like a sore thumb.