In Disney’s live-action version of Dumbo, the character of Dumbo gets his name differently than in the original animated film. In the animated movie, Mrs. Jumbo the elephant receives her baby from the stork, but the other animals see the baby’s large ears and start cruelly referring to him as Dumbo.
In the animated movie, Dumbo spends much of his young life being taunted by the other circus animals due to his oversized ears. However, he soon learns that his ears, his greatest fault, are his greatest asset: They give him the ability to fly. In the new live-action version of the movie, Dumbo still has the oversized ears, as seen in the first look that Disney showed at 2018’s CinemaCon. However, the new film, directed by Tim Burton, will have some differences. First, it will have an original story, one focused on a circus family lead by Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) who gets a new job working for his old circus boss, Max Medici (Danny DeVito). The live-action film will also introduce Michael Keaton as an entrepreneur who wants to make Dumbo part of his new business, Dreamland.
These are only some of the differences between the Dumbo animated film and the live-action movie. In an interview with Screen Rant on the set of Dumbo, DeVito states that the origin of Dumbo’s name is also different in the new movie:
What I found was really great was the mama elephant, Mrs. Jumbo, and baby Jumbo, ’cause you know he doesn’t get his name Dumbo until they… there’s a big brouhaha in the tent and the “J” falls and the “D” falls. I don’t know if that’s in the… this is different. This is more of a Tim Burton-esque way of doing it, it’s really cool.
One other key difference between the original Dumbo and the new one is that the animals don’t talk in the new film. In the original feature, Dumbo is the only animal that doesn’t speak; he is mute, which is also part of how he got his cruel nickname. The live-action Dumbo is more of a re-imagining of the original story, though, rather than a remake, setting it apart from Disney’s previous live-action remakes, such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast and The Jungle Book. Disney has more plans for future live-action remakes, too, including the much-anticipated Aladdin, featuring Will Smith in the iconic role of the genie. Here’s an interesting fact, though: Smith previously chose to pass on a role in Dumbo.
Burton and Disney always seem to be a match made in movie heaven, so Dumbo should still have some of Burton’s quirkiness while managing to tell a heart-warming story about an elephant who learns to believe in himself. Fans of both Disney and Burton will guarantee to make this movie a box office success, especially for those who can’t wait to see how Burton depicts the “Pink Elephants” scene with a drunk Timothy the Mouse from the animated feature.