Better Late Then Never: What My Kids thought of Disney’s New Dumbo

Alright, continuing in our summer movie series I thought I’d go back a bit to a movie we failed to review when it first his theaters. I’m not sure how we missed this one, but we did get a chance to see the new Dumbo right before it hit the dollar theater. And now that it’s out on video, if you missed it, you can decide if it’s worth buying, renting, or skipping.

A couple weeks ago I wrote about 1941 Dumbo, it’s racist undertones and why that’s problematic. Now let’s move on a bit and discuss the NEW live action version that came out earlier this year. And compare the animated Dumbo vs live action movie.

This 2019 Dumbo was directed by Tim Burton and just came out on DVD a few weeks ago. If you haven’t seen it yet and you’re debating whether or not to rent, or just buy it, let us give you a little taste of what to expect.

A Quick Dumbo Review

Dumbo has never been one of our favorite movies but as you can probably gather by now, it is one of our favorite rides at Walt Disney World. The ride actually makes more sense with this movie, that has people riding Dumbo.

The story is completely different. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I’ll give ya the scoop. There are no talking animals, and people actually take care of Dumbo instead of Timothy. Those people actually get to ride him too. Dumbo also gets to fly a lot more in this movie as they discover this ability early on. So the movie kinda makes more sense for the Disney World ride.

A woman sit atop Dumbo in the new live action movie. Dumbo review.

I love the fact that they kept some of the key pieces of the story in tact: Mama Jumbo and the song “Baby Mine” are in there. As is a lucky “magic” feather, a quick Timothy cameo, and the pink elephants. (Though they are SO much better in this version and not a result of drunk hallucinations).

This movie is much longer than the original, almost double actually with a runtime of an hour and 52 minutes. Way too long in my opinion.

My kids said they loved it. But I could see them looking around the theater, playing in their seats, and getting distracted.

They never audibly laughed at any parts but my son did get excited about seeing Casey Jr. as well as a cobra.

My son did laugh at some parts of the animated movie when we watched it later. And with a runtime of an hour, it’s better at holding a child’s attention.

Dumbo live action review

I personally enjoyed the message and how the new one features biracial children in their main cast. There’s also a sweet message about being yourself throughout the film with other characters in the movie.

It’s also much more animal friendly and I’m sure PETA is more pleased with this ending.

Lil’ J said she really liked it and that she loved that the kids got to ride on Dumbo.

“I liked it more than the cartoon because it was longer than the other one and it had better parts in the movie,” she said.

“The other movie was kind of creepy in the other movie because they didn’t have faces. I get why they didn’t have all the details because the people weren’t really in it. And they had to draw them but they could have at least have faces and make their skin more brown.”

Mother and daughter Disney bound Dumbo as Timothy Mama Jumbo and Dumbo

She does recommend this new Dumbo movie to other kids and says you should buy the movie. I say rent it first and see what you think. We all agree that this new Dumbo is SUPER cute (I still find the original to be cuter, though a tad racist).

We collect all of the animated Disney movies but we don’t buy all of the live action ones. And since they’re all coming to Disney+ I’m going to be even more picky about which ones we choose to add to our permanent collection. Their answers to my next question is pretty telling.

Favorite live action Disney movie remake?

Lil J:

  1. Aladdin
  2. Beauty and the Beast
  3. Alice in the Looking Glass
  4. The Lion King
  5. Dumbo

Big T:

  1. The Lion King
  2. Aladdin
  3. Jungle Book
  4. Petes Dragon
  5. Dumbo

For me right now it’s Aladdin, Maleficent (excited for the new one this fall!). Then probably Beauty and the Beast, then The Lion King. I could keep going with Petes Dragon and Jungle Book… Sadly I think I’d rank Dumbo my least favorite so far. (Sorry Dumbo, we still love your ride!). As far as remakes go, I think they did a great job, but I didn’t love it.

Have you seen the new Dumbo yet? What did you think?

And if you did love it! Or want some fun activity sheets to work on while you watch, you can download some free Dumbo activity sheets and printables right here.

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Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget


I'm a former journalist, and lifelong creator striving to make the world a better place. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day by cherishing our individuality and celebrating our differences.

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