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Dumbo: what we learned from the breathtaking new Disney trailer


A brand new trailer for Disney's live-action Dumbo reboot has soared online – and it looks suitably magical.

Tim Burton helms the story of the adorable baby elephant who uses his oversized ears to fly – and if that little description evokes nostalgia, just wait until you scroll down and read what's on offer in the trailer. From the storyline to the stars, here's what you can expect from the new Dumbo movie.

1. An elephant who can fly

Disney's 1941 animation Dumbo culminated in the reveal of the elephant's flying abilities. Burton's version seems like it reveals the trick early on, as Milly and Joe Farrier (Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins), children of one-armed war veteran and circus worker Holt (Colin Farrell), become witness to what Dumbo's ears can do.

This changes the emphasis somewhat, as Dumbo's flying is exploited to both benevolent and malevolent effect by the characters over the course of the story.

Dumbo in Disney's live-action Dumbo reboot

2. Joining the circus

Haunted Holt, still scarred from his war experiences, takes Dumbo under his wing and makes him part of the travelling circus, presided over by ruthless entrepreneur V.A. Vandemere (Michael Keaton, reuniting with Burton after Beetlejuice and the Batman movies). In terms of the latter, imagine The Greatest Showman's P.T. Barnum on a bad day, and you're close.

Other characters we're introduced to in a rapid-fire montage include kindly circus owner Max Medici (played by Batman Returns and Big Fish actor Danny DeVito) and Eva Green's alluring trapeze artist Collette Marchant (Green worked with Burton on madcap horror-comedy Dark Shadows).

Let's also take a moment to appreciate the seamless CGI effects on Dumbo himself – the animators look like they've done a terrific job in preserving his physicality and tactility, particularly in the floppy ears and large, expressive eyes.

Colin Farrell and Danny De Vito in Disney live-action Dumbo

3. Welcome to Dreamland

As Dumbo's flying skills wow the circus crowds, the scheming Vandemere coerces Medici, Holt and his family into a new circus venture: Dreamland, the kind of nightmarish, vaguely macabre landscape at which Burton excels. (Let's not forget this is the creative genius behind the gothic likes of The Nightmare Before Christmas and Sleepy Hollow.)

The bad news for Dumbo is he lies at the heart of Vandemere's plans, prompting a rescue plan from Holt, Milly and Joe.

Michael Keaton in Disney live-action Dumbo movie

4. Dumbo's mother is taken

Many of the recent live-action Disney reboots have stayed close to their original source, refusing to alter the source material. While Burton's version of Dumbo changes up the story somewhat, it also honours key scenes from the tear-jerking original movie, particularly in the trailer scene where the infant's beloved mother is taken away.

Dumbo's mother is taken in Disney live-action Dumbo remake

5. The pink elephant

At least, we're assuming this thing (whatever it is) acts as some kind of homage to the original movie's infamously nightmarish drunk scene involving the pink elephants.

The pink elephant in Disney live-action Dumbo movie

6. Dumbo and his mother

The most heartbreaking moment from the original Dumbo? It has to be the scene where his caged mother cradles him as lullaby 'Baby Mine' plays in the background. So you may want to steel yourselves for the remake, as this pivotal, heartbreaking scene makes a return.

Baby Mine scene from Disney live-action Dumbo movie

7. Holt's battle

Colin Farrell's character may be scarred from his experiences on the battlefield, but he experiences an all new kind of conflict when he's urged to save Dumbo from the malevolent Vandemere. It's also part of a quest to prove himself to his children – as Collette says, "they need you".

Whereas the animated Dumbo was firmly built around the animal characters, this one casts the net wider and explores the emotional journey of the humans too.

Eva Green in Disney live-action Dumbo remake

8. Bringing the house down

The trailer alludes to some kind of climactic battle as Holt and his friends and family bring Vandemere's plans and Dreamland crashing down. Any movie in which the central characters actively fight for the preservation and sanctity of wild animals is bound to strike a profound chord in the current climate, and it will hopefully also allow Burton's skills in vibrant, large-scale set-pieces to flourish.

Plus, those final strains of Norwegian singer Aurora's take on the aforementioned 'Baby Mine' are bound to evoke nostalgic chills.

Colin Farrell in Tim Burton's live-action Disney Dumbo remake

What did we miss in the trailer? Let us know @Cineworld and prepare for Dumbo's arrival in Cineworld on 29th March 2019.