The first reviews for ‘Dumbo’ are in – and it’s not looking good

The live-action remake of the beloved 1941 animated film hasn't gone down particularly well with the critics

Film critics have been having their say on Disney’s remake of Dumbo, with the movie receiving a large amount of criticism in the first raft of reviews.

Tim Burton’s new live-action/CGI version of the beloved 1941 animated film of the same name is set for release on Friday (March 29), with the likes of Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito and Eva Green all starring.

Reviews of the new Dumbo have been surfacing over the past few days, with the film failing to please a number of prominent critics. The Guardian‘s Peter Bradshaw said that the spirit of the original film had been “painfully de-tusked” by Burton’s new version.

“Tim Burton’s new Dumbo lands in the multiplex big top with a dull thud,” he writes.”It is a flightless pachyderm of a film that saddles itself with 21st-century shame at the idea of circus animals, overcomplicating the first movie, losing the directness, abandoning the lethal pathos, mislaying the songs and finally getting marooned in some sort of steampunk Jurassic Park, jam-packed with retro-futurist boredom that had the kids at the performance I attended talking among themselves.”

The Daily Telegraph‘s Robbie Collin also wasn’t a fan of Dumbo, writing: “The problem with this latest entry in Disney’s ever-expanding range of recycled classics isn’t that it hews too close to the studio’s original animated masterpiece, but that its many departures only muddle the original’s nursery-rhyme simplicity and neuter its famous sustained emotional wallop.”

The Hollywood Reporter‘s David Rooney expressed his disappointment in the film. “The actors all do what they can, but mostly get lost in the shuffle and end up with too little to do, like Alan Arkin’s cynical New York banker… But when that visual leaves a more captivating impression than a baby elephant spreading its ears and getting airborne like a glider, something is definitely off in the balance. The new Dumbo holds the attention but too seldom tugs at the heartstrings.”

Writing for The WrapAlonso Duralde said that Burton’s version “lacked the heart and innovation” of the 1941 original. “What we get instead feels more like a lesser 1970s Disney live-action comedy about an animal who can do an extraordinary thing, and the mean people who want to steal him. Burton and his collaborators took the beautiful and moving Dumbo and somehow managed to turn it into a throwaway kiddie adventure like Gus or Million Dollar Duck.”

Not all of the critics were united in criticising the movie, though: Empire‘s four-star review saw Ben Travis praising Burton’s take on the animated classic. “An enchanting blend of Disney twinkle and Tim Burton’s dark whimsy that’s at its best when venturing off the beaten path. Come for the super-cute elephant, stay for Keaton and DeVito’s glorious reunion,” a summary reads.

Earlier this month, Arcade Fire’s song for the Dumbo soundtrack, titled ‘Baby Mine’, was released.