I wasn’t sure what my thoughts were going to be with Dumbo again, I had some impressionistic memories of it, “Pink Elephants On Parade” and “Baby Mine,” and in my obsession of the past few years, learned that Walt was never happy with the movie, but was also low on budget.
There’s also been some woke internet discourse regarding the crows as black stereotypes, which is what I thought I would be discussing in this essay.
Now don’t get me wrong, the crows aren’t good, and “I be seen bout everything,” is not coherent even for minstrel slang. (It would be like an older white man now making a black or black coded character finish ever word with “nizzle” now.) But mostly I was so underwhelmed by the movie, especially after the true masterpiece that is Fantasia, Dumbo is a shattering fall to Earth. The animation isn’t crisp, the film is short and cuts in strange places, the music is uninspired, what little dialog there is in clunky and does little for the story, which is also pretty thin, but at least in a charming way.
Honestly, I just sat baffled. Although in addition to being uninspired, clunky and kinda racist, at least Dumbo is short. At just over 63 minutes the movie was over before I could really process how little it did for me. This is also why it’s probably a favorite for little kids, it’s quick, kind of fun, and over before they can antsy.
It also inspired a damn good theme park ride, so yay?
Next week we’re doing Bambi, don’t worry I have tissues.