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"Dumbo" (Mexico Import)-{Blu-ray}
Taylor Carlson
Studio: Disney
Release Date:
Special Features:

Ride of Passage, Sound Design Excerpt, Celebrating Dumbo, Walt Disney TV Intro, Trailers, Bonus Shorts, Art Galleries, Sneak Peeks, Deleted Scenes, Making Of, Family Play, Cine-Explore, DisneyView Presentation, About James Coleman, Screen Savers


Dumbo was released in 1941. It is the fourth feature-length animated film from Disney's animation studio. ***

Mrs. Jumbo, an elephant in a traveling circus, has just gotten a baby elephant from the stork, which she has named Jumbo Jr. However, the elephant's large ears quickly gain him the ridicule of the other members of the circus troupe, and the unwanted nickname Dumbo. The young elephant becomes increasingly distraught as his humiliation continues, and his mother is declared a mad elephant and locked up following a misunderstood incident. But through the unlikely friendship with a mouse, Dumbo sets off on a journey of self-discovery, and discovers a hidden talent that stems from what others see as a flaw. ***

At a brisk 64 minutes, Dumbo is downright short by the standards of today's films. It has also been something of an “odd man out” in the Disney feature-length animation catalogue for a number of reasons - no human protagonist, for instance - and our pachyderm hero can't even speak! But it stands the test of time as one of the most memorable entries in their catalogue, despite this all. ***

Despite its short length, Dumbo manages to pack in a ton of story and some memorable scenes and images throughout. The characters manage to be better developed and interesting than you would certainly expect from a film of this length. The movie breezes by, but packs so much substance into so little time. ***

And like other old Disney films, this one is very much a product of its era. It is interesting to see what was allowed on screen when the film was first released. Today, it is easy to reject this as “a kid's movie.” But how many of those people have actually seen it? The film even features a lengthy “drunk” scene where our title character starts hallucinating after ingesting water from a tank that alcohol has been poured into. And it has more in common with an acid trip! It's a scene more haunting than a lot of horror movies, no less. And, of course, the movie features a family of crows that are, disappointingly, racist caricatures (though fortunately they aren't depicted in any sort of overly negative fashion.) All things considered, one of the most interesting parts of Dumbo is seeing these things, and how the movie belonged to a drastically different era. I am also glad to see Disney has not edited or censored this material! ***

Dumbo is a great film - enough said. Very few films manage to pack so much story into so little time, Sure, the animation and some other elements of the movie are dated, but it remains a masterpiece of animated cinema. ---

Image And Sound:

Some of the most impressive Blu-Ray releases I have seen so far are classic animated Disney films. Thankfully, this release of Dumbo continues the trend. The image is bright, colorful, and detailed throughout. There are no annoying enhancements in the image, and film grain is not even noticeable (yet the image looks far too pristine for them to have used DNR or the like.) 70 years after its release, Disney has really worked wonders with the image quality here. Yes, the animation looks pretty primitive by today's standards, and viewing it in HD really shows off the flaws of the source material, but all things considered, this is a damn good looking release! ***

Audio gets an upgrade to lossless, and while this isn't the sort of move one should ever expect an earth-shattering audio mix from, this new mix does get the job done. Dialogue seems to get the primary emphasis, even over sound effects and music (on most Blu-Rays it is just the opposite.) Given the dated sound elements, I think we can safely sound the movie won't ever sound better than it does here - and that is fine with me.

Special Features:

As with their other recent Blu-Ray releases of older animated films, Disney has pulled out all the stops here. There are a ton of featurettes on this disc, detailing the making of the film, its legacy, and everything in between. The disc even has some deleted scenes, a television intro by Walt Disney himself, and some animated shorts Disney did in the era. With a wealth of bonus material like this, no fan of the movie will be disappointed.

Final Words:

It's a shame Disney (in America) keeps delaying the Blu-Ray release of Dumbo - but this Mexican release is great. If you want the movie in a high-definition format, go right ahead and import this disc. You won't be disappointed.


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