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Parent reviews for Dumbo

Common Sense says

Visually impressive remake is sweet but sometimes dark.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 45 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 16 reviews
Adult Written byABeeBee March 30, 2019


In reference to the reviewer who wrote that having the mother die in the influenza epidemic at the end of WW1 was "ridiculous and brain washing", please do your research as millions of people did die in this epidemic that swept the globe, particularly in Europe and US and Australia. It was a cruel blow to many families after the tragedy and losses of the war. I for one appreciated the period detail and accuracy of the film. I do agree that it is only suitable for older children. I think a lot of parents don't take the time to read up on films before they go and just assume that 'it's for kids' so any age child will be ok. My son's first film 20 years ago when he was 5 was Thomas the Tank Engine and he even found that scary in places!!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byReza Odimus March 29, 2019

Don’t pay attention to Critical Reviews

Bottom line is that this is an excellent family movie that has all the feels and some really good messages regarding what should matters most when it comes to family. I will not mention those as they would be spoilers. I dare say that as far as Disney animated movies and characters go, Dumbo was not one of my favorites growing up as I thought it was a little silly albeit sad in the beginning but, Tim Burton’s Dumbo really warmed my heart, to my surprise. If you are a parent of a 5 year old or under who is sensitive to stories or fears about kids being separated from close loved ones, I do recommend you talk to them about it beforehand or just be prepared to comfort them when those moments occur in the movie. Not much negative I can truly say about the film. Do yourself a favor and check it out. Hopefully, you will enjoy it as much as my family and I did.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byAllykayyy April 9, 2019

Straight up depressing. (Classic Tim Burton.)

Like someone else said, it has a happy ending but the overall tone of the movie is NOT for kids. It's basically a Series of Unfortunate events but with an elephant. I didn't realize when we went in that it was a Tim Burton film but slowly started to realize it seemed like one of his as the movie went on. HOWEVER. I'm usually a fan of his work, so I thought that was great! But honestly he really dropped the ball on this one. Really dramatic scenes of Dumbo losing his mom were enough to trigger some girl in my theatre of only 10 moviegoers into crying and walking out to recollect. I can't imagine how many reactions there would be if it had been more crowded. Every scene after that was basically just toned down animal abuse. My 8 year old whined "I don't like this movie" throughout 75% of it, til the 'happy ending' came into view. Idk. It was a good movie with a lot of hard work into it but overall they really missed the mark.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Adult Written byGoodWriter April 6, 2019

Dumbo is a Creepy Film With Creepy Characters

What a colossal disappointment! The film presents a creepy backdrop of scary circus characters, replete with cross-dressed robots, horrific clowns, and a dystopian version of California's Disneyland -- a subtle swipe at Disney itself, hidden in the forest of Artificial Intelligence (remember the AI film?) -like CGI structures and beings. What was Disney thinking when it hired Tim Burton to produce a family film! Unless you want your kids waking up to nightmares, avoid the film until they reach adulthood; and then, avoid the film entirely to save precious time tweeting, reading, surfing the net, and engaging in other, more valuable exploits. The film's trailer is all one needs to see to get the idea.
Adult Written byKeegiebear April 6, 2019

Ok but concerns

Great movie but. Language is what i am disappoints me, i should recommend this movie for 11 of 12 years and up!

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byNeon 999 April 5, 2019
Adult Written byChristel Swasey April 1, 2019

Too Sad and Dark

My son was sobbing through a lot of it. The last minute happy ending did not solve the drawn out sadness of the movie. It was a downer, and definitely not for young kids. Only the graphics were good. The story was not.
Adult Written bymovieman48 April 1, 2019

An Elephantine Flop

The early cartoon version of Dumbo had simplicity, charm, humour and at least one cracking good song. Tim Burton's pedestrian remake has none of these qualities. Weighed down with a cumbersome and humourless elephantine script - it comes in at twice the length of the cartoon - it really takes itself too seriously. Come on - this is a one-joke movie about a flying elephant not a treatise on animal rights! The only decent thing about it is the amazing CGI when the elephant does fly. If you've seen it in the trailer, then don't bother with the rest! Burton - surely the most over-rated director in Hollywood - makes as big a mess of this as he did of Alice in Wonderland.I noticed one of the kids near me had gone to sleep by the end. Hopeless!
Adult Written byTaz2311 March 31, 2019

Brilliant tribute to the original with Tim Burton style

BRILLIANT MOVIE! Totally fine for kids! As a guide- my daughter is 5 and loves The Greatest Showman and Tim Burton’s Alice in wonderland, so she already understands the themes of discrimination and family values. The only “scary themes” (as mentioned in the online reviews) were Nightmare Island at the theme park (animals behind bars dressed up as a werewolf, a croc-dinosaur thing, etc.) and a nasty trainer who gets crushed by a pole when the tent falls on him. You don’t actually see anything graphic- you just know he’s dead. Brilliant tribute to the Pink Elephants scene - no dumbo doesn’t get drunk. Also a wonderful Tim Burton style tribute to Michael Keaton’s beetlejuice role through his wardrobe. Much more modern take on animal cruelty and welfare and a fantastic ending. Very impressed.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byUrpiana March 29, 2019

Very disappointed. When the principal caracter comes back from the war finds a horrible panorama: Influenza killed tons of people! I found this to be ridiculous and brain washing. Then, it was little scary for little kids. Too much fire. My 5 years old start crying in the middle of the movie and said she didnt wanted to look at it anymore or she would have nightmares.

Adult Written byCRColbrun March 31, 2019

too stupid for even small children

even little children can figure out that these big ears will not override the laws of physics and gravity to lift a small elephant. If Tinkerbell and Peter Pan needed pixie dust, then this catastrophe needs a Titan Rocket to get off the ground.
Parent of a 7 year old Written byEmellbee March 31, 2019

Lovely family film

Great film, visually beautiful and perfect for family viewing . I really don’t agree with the reviews which say the movie is very dark . There were a couple of sad or tense moments which may upset younger children. My 7 year old absolutely loved - as did we.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Adult Written byWonderWise March 30, 2019

Good but not a children’s movie

There is significant bullying and explotation of baby Dumbo and his mother. I found it disturbing as an adult and would only recommend the movie for children 8 plus as long as they are more mature. I was struck by the dark nature of this movie. There is some advanced thinking here with the young daughter being the brains of the family. Also, there are many who work together to reunite Dumbo with his mom. I cried several times during the show. One common theme of the movie is meanness.
Adult Written byPhil Salmon May 17, 2019

Dumbo - good old fashioned movie storytelling

We watched the movie “Dumbo” as a group of family and friends on the occasion of our oldest daughter’s 18th birthday. It was her choice of film, about which she was quite resolute, despite doubts we expressed that it might be aimed at younger children, and also the lukewarm online reviews it had received. But we found those doubts to have been wholly misplaced, and enjoyed one of the most thoroughly uplifting and delightful family movie nights in recent memory. A night that confirmed however our doubts about the reliability of the elite cadre of film reviewers and our suspicions about the true rottenness of the “Rotten Tomatoes” brand of political proselytism dressed up as film review. Film-craft was different in the early decades of cinema and Tim Burton’s “Dumbo” is a remake of a movie first made in 1941 in which he captures some of the spirit and subtle depth of that early era of film. Film makers at that time had not yet lost the art of storytelling itself, and knew how to use moving pictures and sound as tools to enhance that ancient art. They avoided falling into the trap of later generations of relying on just cinematic effects – high kinetic audio-visual violence to force shock and awe in the viewer, in the place of an actual story. And stories were allowed to draw from eternal spiritual, psychological and moral themes, unencumbered by the “prima noche” obligation to submit to a contemporary prudish social justice agenda. (Every time Rotten Tomatoes shows a big difference between the critics’ and the viewers’ scores for a movie - in either direction - you know that the reason is pure politics, and that the critics‘ reviews are obeisant trash.) In Dumbo’s opening scenes a few very economic cinematic brush-strokes set the scene unmistakably in the somber period just following WW1 and the devastating Spanish flu epidemic (viewer and reviewers ignorant of this history will have missed these important references, but audiences were better educated in the mid 20th century). The male lead Holt was a veteran of the ghastly Argonne forest battleground and had lost an arm. His wife had died of Spanish flu, as had many other family and colleagues – true to history, more had been lost to that epidemic than to the war. Their two children now had a single parent, and they lived in a cramped tent compartment in the decimated and demoralised travelling circus of Mr Medici. The horses their father had ridden as a former star attraction had been sold. Even then a fire burned in the spirits of the children and their father in defiance of the drab and ominous mood. Into this scenario the film’s left field element, or magical visitor, arrives – a mutant baby born to a recently purchased mother elephant, with abnormally large ears reaching to the ground. At first this is taken as yet another dispiriting blow to the circus troupe, nature adding insult to injury. The baby elephant’s life is spared and it is lovingly looked after by the children, with whom it forms an immediate and close bond. The graphic creation of Dumbo the elephant is astonishing in vivid textural life-likeness, and engagingly cute while not gratuitously so. It’s movements are perfectly realistic and powerfully evocative and we quickly get to know the youngster’s character, a wordless compulsive communicator who comes to dominate many scenes with movements of eyes, trunk, ears and limbs. While playing with the creature, the children are astonished to observe that it can fly up in the air by flapping its oversized ears like wings. However at first they keep this a secret and the infant anomaly is relegated to the clowns, painted as an object of ridicule. But during a performance a clown act mishap strands the young elephant – now disparagingly named “Dumbo” – on a high ledge and the creature amazes the crowd by flying to safety and circling the tent a few times for good measure. The stunning fact of a flying elephant and the inevitable avaricious human response to such a phenomenon then set the agenda for the rest of the film. This is done in a powerful yet measured way. While many plot elements are woven together the film remains transparent and is not over complicated. The ugly face of coercive domination is explored, then entertainingly and satisfyingly put in its place. Yes the final plot has been described as formulaic but formulas are there for a reason. Every story is a formula, and this is well crafted old fashioned storytelling. The ending is an imaginative departure from the original and adds to a deeply feel-good send off. This film has depth of character development which however stops short of narcissism. Though a light-hearted romp it touches on profound issues such as control in relationships, personal dreams in economic shackles and organisational ethics. The film leaves you in pleasant contemplation, not just shell-shock. This is how films were / are meant to be made.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written bySummercyprus1980 May 5, 2019


I watched with my 7 year old son. He was not at all impressed with the movie. Not that it wasnt full of fantastic effects but what bothered me was the darkness it made me want to leavw the theatre and made the movie even more depressing. At moments of happiness I expected it to be bright and colourful but it just wouldnt happen. It remained dark through the. This made me hate it as in reality its a movie for kids more than adults so i couldn’t understand why it had to be made so dramatic and i loved the original as a child. Good but wouldnt ever handle watching it again
Parent of a 7 year old Written byNopinkinthishouse April 29, 2019

Great movie!

I don’t think I could get my 7 year old son to watch the original Dumbo so I’m glad this movie is an option for him to see the story. He also has 2 older brothers so he’s used to some “scary” scenes in shows. He and I both really enjoyed the movie. We found Dumbo to be very cute! I liked the messaging about strong bonds between family. I was impressed that my son quickly guessed that the overly nice man trying to buy Dumbo was likely manipulative and not nice at all. He learned he was right, of course. Some scary parts, too, but most movies have that- even Frozen, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid. My son and I both thought it was great!

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Positive Messages
Adult Written byDwright9 April 28, 2019

great movie!!!

great movie for your whole family to see toghether it is very good I highly recommend people to see this movie.
Adult Written bygoldenj2003 April 24, 2019

Great tribute to the original

I took my 11 year old and 6 year old and they loved it. It was an amazing movie that paid great tribute to the original film and also changed some parts to make the movie new and interesting.
Adult Written byAgardner88 April 20, 2019

Dark and Constant Conflict

My husband and I both agree that Dumbo was a huge disappointment. It was both literally and figuratively dark most of the way through. I found there to be too many scenes that made you jump out of your seat. I hated the barrage of conflict. Even as an adult viewer, it was a total downer.
Adult Written byJeffrey_Bones April 19, 2019

Another Beautiful Disney Movie

I never really liked Tim Burton's movies, I didn't even realize this was one of his movies until it started playing. BUT! His visual style absolutely works for the story of Dumbo! I loved everything about the movie. It was a very nice story about people standing up for what is right and coming together to help Dumbo and his mommy. I don't think it was too dark, not sure why so many other parents are saying that. This movie was a very pleasant surprise! If I had to complain about one thing in the movie I would say that the child actress who played the little girl was a bit boring and she seemed to not really be into her role for about the first half of the movie. (I actually thought the more minor character/her little brother was a more believable character) she does get right halfway into the film though and other than that the movie is great. The best part about Dumbo is how cute they made him! His eyes and the sounds he makes for his mommy are just adorable! This movie and last year's Christopher Robin have both proven to be unexpected treats for me. Im starting to really enjoy Disney films again.