Trailer Watch: Dumbo

The Live Action’s First Trailer Takes Flight! Isobel takes a look at what we know so far...

The new trailer for yet another of Disney’s live action remakes of a beloved animated classic is here. Looking more realistic than before, featuring plenty of old favourites but also lots of new stuff, there’s a handful of hints that maybe this version will be darker than the original.

No idea which one I’m talking about yet? Well, yes, this article’s title and picture probably gave it away, but this time around it’s Dumbo, the story of a baby elephant with ears so big he can fly.

We’ve had a lot of live action remakes of successful animated Disney films recently – Beauty and The Beast, Cinderella, The Jungle Book – and all of them have had very similar reactions from audiences. They are enjoyable, nostalgic for older viewers who love the originals, often controversial in their smaller changes, but also largely unchanged from the animated versions. I have no doubt Dumbo will be the same.

“This setup is a slow and clear introduction to the film we all know and love”

The trailer opens with a shot of an open sky over buildings and festive bunting, an elephant weather vane turning freely. The next clip shows the inverse, an elephant (presumably Dumbo’s mother) peering up through the bars of their cage, watching birds flying overhead. This setup is a slow and clear introduction to the film we all know and love, and works beautifully to foreshadow the film’s foregone conclusion: a flying elephant.

Over the top of this is a slower, arguably darker or creepier version of one of the songs from the original Dumbo film’s soundtrack, clearly linking to the animated film whilst at the same time emphasising the influence of the name that next appears on the screen – Tim Burton.

The next clip, however, departs from the animated Dumbo in an obvious way. A family of humans – a father and two kids – approach a haystack, where Dumbo is hiding. A closeup of the daughter sitting down, likely from a different scene, positions the baby elephant as part of the family, before the film finally shows us the title character for the first time, emerging from the hay.

“This trailer is jam-packed with clips from the film, showing plenty of interesting visuals without too much plot”

Dumbo is a cute – though obviously CGI – baby elephant, his oversized ears framing his shy face. However, he also appears to be one of very few animals in this film – throughout the rest of the trailer, almost all of the characters shown are human. Unlike the 1940s version, it appears that the only main character to be an animal will be Dumbo himself, the role of Timothy Q. Mouse being put into human hands instead.

This trailer is jam-packed with clips from the film, showing plenty of interesting visuals without too much plot. One such colourful image is of a large bubble in the shape of an elephant, suggesting that the famous ‘Pink Elephant’ scene from the original (in which Dumbo, a baby, gets drunk) will make an appearance.

Pink GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Other clips are mostly of circus performances and audience members, before the final flourish: there are quick shots of a fair few shocked faces, followed by, of course, a final shot or two of what appears to be a flying elephant.

Dumbo is a much-loved classic, and although it is arguably just one in a long string of unnecessary Disney live action remakes, as this trailer shows it may also have the potential to become a classic itself, for the new generation. To know for certain, though, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Isobel Sheene

Featured image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures via IMDb.

Article gif courtesy of giphy.com.

Image use licence here.

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