Given Tim Burton’s propensity for strangely dark films (Frankenweenie, Beetlejuice, Edward Scissorhands, Mars Attacks, Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Sweeney Todd, etc.), he’s seemed an odd pick to direct children’s movies--and yet was given that chance with both Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and Alice in Wonderland. To be sure, both still had their weirdly Burtonesque moments. Yet, here comes the trailer for the live action adaptation of Dumbo, and the teaser doesn’t hint at anything creepy, or weird, or Johnny Depp.
Sure, Miss Vanessa Ives Eva Green is there (she’s become one of Burton’s menagerie of the weird) Also featured, Danny Devito, reprising his role as the Penguin. Other regulars include the aforementioned Depp, Helena Bonham Carter and Mr. Resurgent himself, Michael Keaton. But the point is, this appears to be most child appropriate thing to come from Burton yet, and that includes the ancient Pee-ee’s Big Adventure, which was pretty mild for a Burton film and which I actually loved as a kid.
Then I read the trailer description. It’s mostly a laundry-list of who’s who in the movie intermingled with some mild plot synopsis which seems innocent enough until you hit the end:
But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets.
A Dreamland full of dark secrets. What the holy hell dark secrets? I’m pretty sure the darkest secret from the original was that there was no way Dumbo ever flew without alien technology or divine intervention, as physics would have said hell no, otherwise. I’m not sure I even want to begin to delve into what now ominous text prompt “and the imagination of Tim Burton” promises. Then again, this is Disney. Either little boys are being turned into donkey slaves, or cute little animals are having their parents murdered in front of their eyes with a shotgun or the aid of a convenient cliff.
Someone should have stopped Disney and Burton from creating a movie together. What do you think the dark secrets will be? Drop your vote in the comments below.
Dumbo flies back into theaters and your hearts (maybe) in March, 2019.