His name is Jumbo Jr. and he deserves the world!
Fantasia was expensive (again, here’s hoping Leo got his hands on some of that cash) and left Disney studios in need of some quick money. Dumbo started out as a short film, but they decided it would be easy enough to cheaply expand the story into a feature. It was finished quickly and only runs just above an hour, but it did it’s job and was a hit with critics and audiences at the time. The original New York Times review of the film called it a “most completely precious cartoon film.” Disney himself referred to Dumbo as “one of those little things that we knocked out between epics”. Today, Dumbo is definitely one of the most recognizable Disney properties, and a movie I know I watched as a kid, though it wasn’t a beloved favorite.
If you’ve never seen Dumbo (perhaps you only know of him from his famous ride at the Disney parks) it tells the story of a baby elephant named Jumbo Jr. who is mocked due to the size of his ears and cruelly nicknamed “Dumbo”. Honestly there are quite a few cringe-worthy moments during the film, as it has some outright racist moments. Also, during production there was an animator’s strike because Walt Disney hated unions and treated the higher level animators like kings and the lower level animators pretty poorly. So, like, bad decisions just plagued this film.
BUT, I don’t want to end on a negative note –
Dumbo Jumbo Jr. is CUTE and sweet. Watch along and decide for yourself how you feel about the film…and maybe, just try to focus on the adorable baby elephant on screen. Let’s leap into it!
My thoughts on Dumbo:
- This stork song is creepy and I’m sure confusing for children
- Author’s Note: in the NYT article I read after writing these notes, the critic actually said that a negative of the film was the Stork Song and how parents would have trouble explaining it to kids. So, glad to see me and that guy in 1941 are on the same page (which is not something I’d ever thought I’d type and probably doesn’t apply to much else!)
- Oh, Florida, you don’t look like a dumpster fire from above
- Also I love how the circus is situated in the everglades, apparently? And yet, they’re not sinking
- These baby animals are CUTE
- Wow all these animals getting kids on the same night the circus Christmas party must have been LIT
- The Casey Jr. song is a lowkey bop, I’m vibing with it
- Poor Dumbo got this inefficient stork – late and nearly dropping him
- These rude af elephants. Why are they so horrified and disgusted at having a baby? Like, I know kids are gross and all but a whole bunch of other animals got babies last night, so why are they acting like it’s shameful?
- Wait is her last name Jumbo? But her baby is Jumbo Jr?
- Where is Jumbo Sr? I want the backstory
- Okay, now the elephants are excited to see the baby. Decide on your feelings gals!!
- Baby elephant! Super cute baby elephant!
- Gotta hand it to Disney animators of any era, they know how to animate a cute animal
- These elephants are a bunch of Karens, thinking they can say whatever they want with no repercussions
They would definitely want to speak to the manager
- This putting up the circus song is OOF.YIKES.com
- I don’t want to repeat the lyrics here, but they are very racist, not a hint of subtlety here.
- ALL these people were on the train?!
- Poor mama elephant. And poor baby Jumbo
- These real housewives of casey jr need to be smacked with those ears
- “Whats the matter with those ears? I think they’re cute” ME TOO TIMOTHY
- This is a BABY! He didn’t choose his ears!
- Aww Timothy is a very nice mouse
- Could you imagine if your name was like Timothy Q Human
- They really gotta keep the Dumbo name?
- I get that Timothy is trying to get Jumbo Jr. some glory, but wouldn’t keeping him out of the spotlight better? Especially since attention has kind of been tough for him so far?
- Did they practice this elephant pyramid??
- Ugh this poor baby
- This isn’t even his FAULT! He didn’t choose the act! He didn’t get a say in doing it! Why did it take until a minute before for someone to realize the ears would cause an issue with him running???
- “Assassine” HE’S A BABY THAT TRIPPED
- They made him a clown! 😦
- The horror of the lady elephants is kind of funny but I feel so bad for this kid.
- You want to watch a three day old baby get crapped on for an hour? Well Dumbo is the movie for YOU
- Ugh the Baby Mine sequence is so sad!!!
- He just wants to be with his mamma
- Oh no
- It’s coming
- They’re drinking champagne? Not beer? Fancy
- But also oh no here it comes
- I just thought they drank soap as a kid
- Ugh the pink elephants
- Were they also smoking cuz ive never seen elephants while drunk
- This is giving me a headache my gosh
- Thank god its over
- Oh no
- They’re coming
- The crows
- This movie is just one terrible idea after the other
- The mouse lecturing the crows just adds to the cringiness giving the historical context of all this
- I just want to see this child succeed my goodness
- Go dumbo!!
- I’m obsessed with the way timothy yells “you’re flying”
- “Ya Flyin!!”
- Dumbo terrorizing the circus people who laughed at him and hailing peanuts on the mean old lady elephants, LOVE that journey for him!
- Oh NOW these people want to be nice to him? Figures.
- At least dumbo and his mom are back together and living in luxury in that fancy car
- Dumbo got the respect he deserved, the happiest of ever afters
- Dumbo in his mom’s arms at the end, I’m not tearing up YOU are
So, Dumbo was…sad. Like, a lot sadder than I remember. It’s really just one bad thing after another for him, and not even because of his own choices. I’m glad that him and his mom ended up okay and well taken care of in the end.
After sitting with a sad and heartbreaking film all week, I’m looking forward to a cheerful and fun classic Disney romp next week!
JK next week is Bambi!