DVD Review

Dumbo: Big Top Edition (2006)


Details Release Date: Jun 06, 2006; DVD Release Date: Jun 06, 2006; Genre: Animation

At 64 minutes, Dumbo is definitely the shortest and surely the sweetest Disney animated feature. It's also the only one with a mute title character, ideal for parents sick of the surfeit of smart-aleck critters in Over the Hedge, The Wild, and Hoodwinked (any of which might make a grown-up wonder: Where's the guy who shot Bambi's mom when you need him?). In this 1941 masterpiece of devotion and redemption, childhood humiliation — wing-size elephant ears, à la Rudolph's red nose — turns into triumph. For Disney, still reeling from apathy toward their most ambitious project, this follow-up was the anti-Fantasia, in simplicity and profitability. Not that they'd completely got whatever they were smoking out of their system: Beyond the legendarily tear-jerking ''Baby Mine,'' Dumbo's other classic musical number is ''Pink Elephants on Parade,'' a veritable acid bath that even Dalí might've considered freaky. Leonard Maltin says in a 15-minute featurette that Dumbo ''gets taken for granted.'' As proof, perhaps, the extra is a holdover from 2001's 60th Anniversary Edition, along with most everything else; so much for upgrading. But anyone who missed this underdog — under-pachyderm? — in previous go-rounds should discover the Disney film that best proves innocence needn't be animation anathema.

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Originally posted Jun 09, 2006 Published in issue #882 Jun 16, 2006 Order article reprints

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