“Are you ready to DUMBOOOOO?”
The words from famed boxing announcer Michael Buffer kicked off the world premiere of Tim Burton’s live-action “Dumbo” in Hollywood Monday night.
The premiere brought out the stars of the film — Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito — and even fan Angelina Jolie with four of her kids.
Monday marked the first opportunity for critics to express their opinions on social media for the film. Full reviews are embargoed until March 26, just three days before the March 29 release date, which puts even more emphasis on these early analyses.
There is already near unanimous opinion that Burton has created a visually stunning film to follow the 1941 animated classic — with a successful CGI elephant main character named Dumbo for his giant ears.
Mike Manalo, of the Nerds of Color blog, praised the special effects elephant. He added, “But unfortunately, though it looks great, the movie lacks the sincerity and heart that made the animated original a classic. Too manufactured, and it’s super talented cast is a bit wasted on paper thin characters and relationships.”
Tom Jorgensen of IGN lauded the “great visuals, a very fun Michael Keaton performance and an adorable baby pachyderm.” But Jorgensen added it was hard to make a connection: “The human stories feel undercooked and it really rains on the parade.”
Peter Sciretta of Slashfilm.com seemed to be damning the movie with faint praise when he said: “I enjoyed #Dumbo. Fantastic art/production design.”
He explained in a further tweet: “I know I don’t sound too enthused about this movie but it was enjoyable, and it is certainly worlds better than ‘Beauty and the Beast’ and ‘Mary Poppins Returns.’ “
Entertainment writer Courtney Howard praised the “surprising pro-animal rights agenda” story and the aesthetic design as “dazzling, gorgeous & meticulous. The CG elephant is absolutely adorable.”
Chris Hayner, associate entertainment editor at Gamespot.com, praised “the story of a giant-eared elephant that just wants to see his mom again. There just happens to be a good amount of adorable mixed in, and some fun musical nods to the original.”
Hayner called the production design, “flat-out incredible.”