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Flash Movie Review: Dumbo

I FOUND SOMEONE I COULD RELATE to and it was an elephant. Don’t laugh; this little elephant was a character I not only could sympathize with but identify with because of what he was going through in his young life. It was on a Saturday and I remember we took the train down into the city. A theater there was doing a weekend showing of the animated movie Dumbo. As we walked around the corner and I saw the movie theater, I got upset because of all the people lined up trying to get into the theater. I thought for sure all the tickets would be sold before we got up to the box office. By downtown standards this theater was one of the smaller ones which was part of the reason for my fears. All I knew about this little elephant was its ability to fly and I desperately wanted to see it for myself. Flying was something I dreamt about and was hoping I could learn something from Dumbo. As you can see at a young age I was already heavy into fantasy, looking to create a different reality around me. I could not stop fidgeting as we slowly made our way up to the box office.     WITH TICKETS IN HAND WE FOUND seats in the theater; I could not have been more excited. When Dumbo was being made fun of, I felt his pain. I was overweight and endured similar name calling. If I could I would have jumped into the screen to defend Dumbo and let him know he was not alone. I was visibly upset as I sat in my seat. And then suddenly, my sadness and pain disappeared in a puff of air, that I felt from Dumbo’s large ears when they flapped to give him flight for the first time. Seeing that little elephant rise up into the air was pure magic for me. I was told I had big ears, so I wondered if it was at all possible I could teach myself to use my ears along with my flapping arms to allow me to lift off the ground. There in that movie theater I had found someone like me; I wanted to do everything Dumbo could do. If I was ever afraid or uncomfortable I could simply fly away from the situation, soar above any of the pain or name calling I was experiencing. After all these years, I now have the opportunity to see my flying friend once again in this live action, fantasy film.     WHEN CIRCUS OWNER MAX MEDICI, PLAYED by Danny DeVito (Batman Returns, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia-TV), bought a pregnant elephant; he never imagined the birth of a baby elephant could change his life so drastically. This family movie also starred Colin Farrell (The Beguiled, The Lobster) as Holt Farrier, Michael Keaton (American Assassin, The Founder) as V.A. Vandevere, Eva Green (Based on a True Story, Penny Dreadful-TV) as Colette Marchant and Alan Arkin (Argo, Going in Style) as J. Griffin Remington. While watching this picture I had a visceral reaction to what was being shown on the movie screen. Except for the variety of fanciful visuals, I thought this movie was an abomination. How did the movie studio okay a story that was dark and so not kid friendly? I was completely shocked by the script and found absolutely nothing fun or joyful in this picture. There were little glimpses of a possible pleasurable scene but for the most part the script and over the top soundtrack drowned any hope of enjoyment. Days later I still was confused how this film got made of such a classic iconic character from animated history. Unless you want to punish your child or yourself, there is no reason to go see this poor version of the classic tale.

 

1 ½ stars

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Flash Movie Review: Water for Elephants

When I read Reese Witherspoon (This Means War, Legally Blonde) reached out and offered her friend Robert Pattinson (Twilight franchise, Remember Me) use of a remote home of hers, to keep the paparazzi away during the rough time he was having with his cheating girlfriend; I wanted to check out this movie where the two actors worked together. Based on the popular novel by Sara Gruen, Robert portrayed Jacob Jankowski the former veterinarian student that dropped out of Cornell when his parents were killed, leaving him penniless and homeless. With no family or attachments to hold him back, Jacob one night snuck onto a passing train while he was walking the rails. No ordinary freight train, this was the train of a traveling circus owned by the unpredictable August, played by Christoph Waltz (Carnage, The Three Musketeers). The circus’ star attraction was August’s wife Marlena, played by Reese Witherspoon (This Means War, Legally Blonde). For me, the star of this movie besides Rosie the elephant was Christoph; perfect playing a maniacal, jealous, ruthless character. Robert did a good job with his role; gratefully I did not see any of his Twilight’s Edward acting in this role. Though Reese looked the part, I found her acting was sadly lacking. This may explain why there was little chemistry between her and Robert, something that was needed to carry this beautiful story along. I thought the film looked wonderful, giving a true sense to the period of time the story took place. It was nice that Reese and Robert maintained a friendship after this movie was made; I just wish they could have had more sparks between them, to keep up with Christoph.

 

2 2/3 stars — DVD

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