“DUMBO” is now available on Blu-ray to add to your home collection. Tim Burton took the reigns of this film and created a spectacular world that was a mixture of his own artistic vision, with that of the original Disney classic. The cast was loaded with headline names and the result was a collection of vibrant characters with various personalities, all of which complemented one another nicely. The story itself was true to the source-material, yet fresh in others areas to build a fantastical atmosphere that felt new. One that provided both nostalgia, and its own unique story layers to give the film a fresh take, while still telling the old story tropes.
This was a massive film from a production aspect, with enormous practical sets and large stages with huge amounts of performers to re-create the old-time circus. The collection of bonus material included with this release provides a fascinating inside-look at the crafting of the film from many aspects. Disney never shorts on special-features and there is a variety here. First is a hefty collection of deleted scenes that I enjoyed watching as a few would have been nice to have left in the final cut. The next feature is called “Clowning Around” that is for the most part a gag and blooper reel. But one that does provide amusement as it delivers a collection of true goofs in the dialogue which always entertains by capturing the chemistry and mood of the set and humanizing the actors.
“Easter Egg on Parade” was a short, but nicely edited sequence that lays out all of the Easter Eggs planted in this live-adaptation. It was interesting to go back and see how this new film paid homage in very subtle ways. And with this segment laying them out with context, you will be certain not to miss one when watching the actual movie. There is also a “Baby Mine” music video of the classic song for those who love the music of Disney movies.
This leads us to the beefier features included in this home entertainment release. The deep dive into the construction of the film from a technical aspect, Burton’s vision, as well as the acting and what preparations were needed. “The Elephant in the Room” was an intriguing featurette for those who love seeing how digital characters are brought to life. From storyboards, to conceptual design, and through various stages of pre-res digital effects, this feature explores in-depth the creation of Dumbo. And the efforts taken to make him a character that had heart and layers of emotional expression. “Built to Amaze” was a fascinating segment that explored the wardrobe, make-up, and art-design. It takes viewers inside the massive practical sets with commentary from Burton and the cast that creates a charming human element as they share their experiences while filming.
The final feature would certainly be my favorite called “Circus Spectaculars” that provided endless insight behind the creative direction Tim Burton took in this adaptation. He talks about the cast, exploring how and why each were perfect for their roles. The cast also adds their own insight on what they felt of Burton’s take on the classic film and I found it to be loaded with information. Yet at the same time delivering a great visual peek at the logistics of creating such a large-scale film. I felt I was able to learn more about the characters. And with a deeper perspective on why certain cast choices were made, and what each wanted to convey in their roles, it certainly adds more depth while watching the movie again.
Overall this is a great collection of material for a very entertaining live-adaptation that is a must for your home collection. The film is able to create a mental escape and pull the viewer back into the days of the old circus. And with an emphasis on the practical effects the spectacular theatrics feel like they are happening in front of you. The special-features are not simply fluff, they provide endless amounts of added information and knowledge that will add more value every time you watch the adorable flying elephant, and the saga of him finding his mother.