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Dumbo (SE)
DVD disk
06.28.2006 By: Jason Coleman
Dumbo (SE) order
Director:
Ben Sharpsteen

Actors:
Billy Bletcher
Jim Carmichael
Noreen Gammill

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
The classic tale of an underdog elephant named DUMBO, whose enormously floppy ears make him the laughing stock of the entire circus. So after getting himself in trouble and being relegated to working with the circus clowns, it’s up to the flappy-eared guy and his trusty friend Timothy the mouse to teach everyone not to judge a book by its cover. (Sounds way to much like an advertisement for an after school special!)
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Re-visiting classic Disney films is always a gamble. What you tend to remember as a kid seeing those films, is rarely the same as when you watch them again as an adult. The animated Disney movie DUMBO is fortunately one of those rare instances where the magical moments you liked as a kid, are still very much intact. Let’s face it, DUMBO is not an exercise in heavy thinking; it’s the old tale about not fitting in and how to overcome it. Simple and sweet. As a story, DUMBO actually kept me entertained, with just enough musical numbers not to make me throw up and enough memorable characters to keep the flick going. The old school animation keeps it real and interesting, with the age of the film only revealing itself in the form of (what would now be considered “politically incorrect”) cheesy stereotypes of the characters. (The mean and evil circus head honcho tries to beat a raging elephant mother into submission with a whip – PEDA would be appalled!)

What I like most is not being able to tell which actor did what voice, hence the voices merely exist to enhance the characters, and they do indeed. My personal favorite is the rough and tough Timothy mouse, who is the spawn of both PINOCCHIO’s Jiminy Cricket and a watered down version of ALADDIN’s Iago, definitely a character ahead of it’s time. Every voice here fits the characters - I never found myself even asking who did the voice for that one? All new animated features should take heed from this veteran, don’t try so hard, sometimes a little is actually a lot; they don’t call it an oldie, but a goody for nothing. DUMBO is not unlike its title; slow and sweet, but still the best in show.

Kid’s Critique: “I loved it.” (And remember, he’s experiencing it for the first time – meaning it still holds up!)
THE EXTRAS
In this DUMBO – BIG TOP EDITION, the Disney folks have once again created the disc with the Disney Fast Play, a feature great for strapping the kids down and going off to do other things! There’s quite an array of extras on this one, seemingly for all ages, so on with the show!

Music And More: Under this category, there is a “Baby Mine” Music Video (4:00) , plus some Sing Along Songs (the kid loves these!) including Look Out For Mr. Stork (2:35) and Casey Jr. (2:30).

Games And Activities: The kid also loves these, but strongly advises that you guys at Disney include a few more games next time! (Although he didn’t quite put it that poignantly, something about no more? and you guys sucking!) Two games include a DisneyPedia: My First Circus and a DVD Storybook: Dumbo’s Big Discovery, with both a read along and read to yourself. (The kid likes the first option!)

Backstage Disney: The most meaty of all the extras with a, gulp, full length commentary track and other assorted goodies!

Feature Length Audio Commentary With Animation Historian John Canemaker: No, not the guy who invented that stick that helps you walk, this is Animation Historian Canemaker (or so the credit says, I never even heard of this guy before!) and he seems to have his facts in order. He has a lot of info on the film, how it came to be and so forth, which he delivers super monotone teacher style and also gives some of his own jerky thoughts that only a hardcore DUMBO fan would need to hear. (Are there really any of those kinds of people out there?!)

Celebrating Dumbo (14:50): Everyone spewing the wonderment and greatness of DUMBO, from film critic Leonard Maltin (bro, you’re such a whore!) to Roy E. Disney. The background info is interesting, the rest is like circus popcorn - it can’t be good for you!

Walt Disney TV Introduction (1:00): The original ad featuring Walt himself selling the movie, a cool tidbit for nostalgic fans!

Plus a Dumbo Art Gallery for all you freaks out there who need you complete DUMBO fix, two Bonus Shorts, with Elmer Elephant (8:30) and The Flying Mouse (9:20) . (Nothing special, but I’m for anything that keeps the youngsters quiet!) Disney also threw in a Matching Game complete with Learning Cards - (you guys like giving extras, don't you?!) And Sneek Peeks (aka Trailers) of Brother Bear 2, The Wild, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Princess Fairy Tales, The Little Mermaid Special Edition, Meet The Robinsons, The Fox And The Hound 25th Anniversary Edition, Airbuddies (God help us!), and Disney Learning Adventures Winnie The Pooh Shapes and Sizes and Wonderful Word Adventure. That enough for ya?!
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
Any simpleton out there can appreciate this basic animated story of an elephant trying to overcome ears that would make a chia-pet jealous. And the extras on this Big Top Edition are enough to keep the kids and hard core adult fans busy for hours. (No kids and wife for a few hours, hell you might want to buy two!) Still got that old crappy VHS copy, you know, the one with the scratch in the picture that runs through the whole film – don’t be a Dumbo, upgrade it while there’s still time left.
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