Article written in the framework of the collaboration between the writing Culture of Figaro and the IPJ Paris-Dauphine.

His big ears, his blue eyes and his little yellow hat has rocked the young years of many adults today. Almost 80 years after the release of the animated original, the little elephant comes up on the screen to delight a whole new generation of children. Under the direction of Tim Burton and with a screenplay revised, Dumbo stands out as the best of the adaptations in live-action cartoons Disney produced to date.

● For the nostalgia

If it is far away to be a true copy of it, the film is full of references and nods to the cartoon original, like the storks and the circus train in the early scenes. But above all, elephant has lost none of his adorable personality. Her large eyes sad and his little barrissements plaintifs refer directly to parents in childhood. The iconic song of the cartoon, My Little , prompt, also, with Tim Burton. “My baby’s so pretty, mom sleep my little one”… Sung by the fire while Dumbo tries to embrace his mother in a cage, the melody has kept all of his power of emotion.

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it is equally Difficult to make a new film without the scene of the elephants pink. In this adaptation, the pachyderms are manifest in a number of circus of dreams, where the soap bubbles come alive under the lights of projectors colorful and the music of the original cartoon.

● For the story that deceives enormously

The film Burton is based on the cartoon of 1941, but managed to take his own off. Goodbye Timothy, the mouse who helps Dumbo to take off. Here, the protagonists are human, relegating the elephant calf to a quasi-second role. The film follows, in the United States in 1919, a brother and a sister, orphans of mother, and their father had just come back from the trenches and amputated an arm. An efficient parallel between the children and Dumbo, separated from his mother, Mrs Jumbo, from the beginning of the film.

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As in the original version, the action takes place in a circus, but in the middle this time of a gallery of characters burtoniens. With a ringmaster played by a Danny DeVito impeccable, as in Big Fish (of the same Tim Burton in 2003). But to stretch the action over two hours – the original did that – the scenario is enriched by a new adventure, in an imitation circus a Disneyland to the charms of art deco. An amusement park led by a Michael Keaton look steampunk. To new movie, new values. Exit the alcohol in the champagne Dumbo and the crows, the characters where used to nest of racist clichés of the time. The Dumbo version 2019 prefers to place a speech unexpected on the condition of animals in cages.

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● For success visual

Aesthetically, Dumbo – although not bearing frankly the paw burtonienne – turns out to be a small wonder. The film shines by the success of its computer-generated images, including those of Dumbo himself and his big blue eyes so expressive, coming out of the straw where it was hiding, taking refuge with his mother, or flying thanks to its large ears to the inside of the tent. Computer generated images also impressive with this overview of the Dreamland Circus and its various attractions.

” READ ALSO – Dumbo: ears and wings

Dumbo acquires also images, perfectly composed, thanks to Ben Davis, the director of photography ( Three Billboards: signs of the vengeance , Guardians of the Galaxy ). Playing on an extended range of colors, it varies between warm and cold tones in order to support the happiness, the magic, the sadness, the fear, or the threat clean to the various scenes. Thus, at the beginning of the film, it gives the audience a image gold brown a world of circus and sunsets on which stand out the silhouettes of the elephants. He also points out with gentle moments and intimate of a blue light such as when the children found the elephant calf in the middle of the night in its cage, and that the small Joe reassures Dumbo in him swearing that he loves her ears.

Side costumes, special mention to the outfits of the trapeze artist Colette Marchant (Eva Green), made of tulle and feathers colored in the true spirit of the roaring twenties, which fly in the course of its aerial numbers. Visually, a number of high-flying.

Eric Nahon IPJ

Cinema, theatre, music… The student-journalists of IPJ, Institute of Journalism of the University of Paris Dauphine, offer their views on current cultural events. A publication in partnership with Le Figaro culture.