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Disney’s Live-Action ‘Dumbo’ Reminds Us That Our Differences Make Us Special

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Disney's new live-action "Dumbo" flies into theaters and our hearts, reminding us that it's our differences that make us unique—and that with a little help from our friends, we can turn weakness into strength.


“You’ve seen a horse fly. You’ve seen a dragonfly. You’ve even seen a housefly. But you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen an elephant fly!” -Baritone Bates, Dumbo

For many of us, sitting in the theater and watching the first trailer for the all-new, live-action Dumbo movie brought tears to our eyes and giant lumps to our throats. We got our first sight of Dumbo as he timidly peered up at us under large, floppy ears with the haunting, familiar melody of “Baby mine, don’t you cry…” playing softly in the background. Suddenly, it’s like we’re sitting in front of our old televisions as children, holding our breath in anticipation and amazement as we watched baby Dumbo take his first flight.

If there is one thing to be said about the all-new, live-action  Dumbo from Disney and visionary director, Tim Burton, is that they haven’t just made Dumbo fly again—they have truly made him soar.

From his extraordinary imagination, Tim Burton has brought us a Dumbo so real that it’s hard to imagine that you haven’t, in fact, seen a real baby elephant fly as you leave the theater. This new Dumbo expands on the beloved classic story we know so well—a story that taught us that our differences are what make us special, our family should be cherished and our dreams can come true.

But more than ever, this new Dumbo, that hits theaters on March 29, 2019, reminds us that we’re all on a journey to find our place in the world, and it’s ok to feel a little bit like an outsider as we embark on that journey. Even if others are quick to ridicule our differences, we can do incredible things if we embrace what makes us unique.

The original animated version of Dumbo debuted in theaters on Oct. 23, 1941—revered by both audiences and critics, it won numerous awards and quickly became a household classic. The endearing relationship between Dumbo and his mother, so beautifully illustrated in the heartfelt song, “Baby Mine,” is one of the many reasons audiences have been drawn to the story for generations.

LightWorkers Disney Dumbo

2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“The image of Dumbo is an iconic one throughout the world,” says producer Derek Frey. “People instantly know the baby elephant with the big ears. They may not remember every beat of the story, but they remember the tender moments as well as certain realities of the world that weren’t expected in an animated movie. It’s the kind of story that became a part of your soul as a child.”

It’s that part of your soul—a part that you might not have even known existed—that is awakened as you watch this film unfold, bringing old friends to life and introducing new ones. Bringing contemporary themes and modern twists to the story while honoring the original animated film was important to the entire team behind this new adaption. Instead of simply retelling the story exactly as we remember it, a brand-new narrative is introduced with characters and a storyline that brings new depth to Dumbo’s journey on screen.

But more than ever, this new Dumbo, that hits theaters on March 29, 2019, reminds us that we’re all on a journey to find our place in the world, and it’s ok to feel a little bit like an outsider as we embark on that journey.

Audiences are introduced to Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) a former circus star who finds his life turned upside down when he returns, wounded, from World War I. In his absence, his wife has died leaving him with two children, Milly and Joe, and no circus act left to revive. Out of necessity, ring leader Max Medici (Danny DeVito) puts him in charge of elephant care, which he unenthusiastically accepts. His children, however, embrace this new role, which eventually leads them all to a relationship with a baby elephant they could have never imagined in their wildest dreams.

LightWorkers Disney Dumbo Tim Burton

2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The Farriers, Max Medici, Dumbo and the entire Medici Circus are taken on a wild ride when V.A Vandervere (Michael Keaton) a persuasive entrepreneur, sets his sights on Dumbo for the big act at his new state-of-the-art amusement park called Dreamland. There, they meet Colette Merchant (Eva Green) a French aerialist who becomes Dumbo’s performing partner. But it’s not long before Vandervere’s true colors begin to shine through his charming exterior, and Dumbo and his friends find themselves victims of Vanderveer’s quest for fortune and fame. All the while, Milly and Joe work to keep the promise that they made to Dumbo; to reunite him with his mother.

This new script by Ehren Kruger pays homage to the original film while taking it in a new direction. Says Burton, “I thought it offered a way to tell that story in a framework that expanded it, but without redoing the original. I just liked the take on it. It was simple, with an emotional simplicity, and didn’t interfere with what the basic through line of the original is about.”

In telling this story, the audience is swept into a dream-world of the golden age of the circus, born from the imagination of Tim Burton and the incredible team that brought his vision to life. From the elaborate costumes to breathtaking sets, this immersive film is truly a masterpiece from beginning to end.

LightWorkers Disney Dumbo Tim Burton

2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Due to the film’s success in creating such an immersive, emotional, real-life experience, be advised that some young children might find the intensity of the film potentially overwhelming or scary at times. However, as a whole, Dumbo is sure to touch the hearts of both the young and old, reminding us to dream and leaving us with an important message. Ehren Kruger, Dumbo scriptwriter and producer, captured the essence of this message when he said, “Dumbo resonates with us because we’re all flawed in some way, yet Dumbo shows us that sometimes those flaws are what make us special.”

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Dumbo finds his place in the world despite his self-doubt, flaws and pain—he leans into his friends and fights for his family. Along the way, magic happens. Watching Dumbo is like seeing a reflection of our own life stories—we’ve all felt insecure and “different” before, and we’ve all needed encouragement to go out into the world and soar.

LightWorkers Disney Dumbo Tim Burton

2019 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“I never really liked the circus with the captive animals, the clowns, the uncomfortable death-defying acts and—did I mention?—the clowns!” says Burton, about creating the film. “But I understood the idea of it, joining a weird family of outcasts who don’t fit in with normal society—people who are treated differently. That’s what ‘Dumbo’ is about.”

Dumbo soars into theaters on March 29, 2019. Find out more about showtimes and tickets at https://disney.com/dumbo.