Disney surprised fans with a full-length trailer for Tim Burton's Dumbo adaptation on November 15, and it's safe to say that life will never be the same again. The new live-action Dumbo trailer will break your heart — but it will also put it back together. Disney has a way of doing things like that.
The Burton version of the 1941 Disney classic looks just as melancholy as the original — if not more so. But it also just feels a little better, for some reason. Maybe because audiences are trusting Burton not to smash their hearts into smithereens? Or get a sweet baby elephant drunk to the point of hallucinating? (Some of us still haven't gotten over "Pink Elephants", okay?)
The live-action Dumbo blends real people and real sets with computer generated images, but the trailer moves smoothly. It's highly-stylized, which is what Burton loves to do, and the reds and tans and creams and blacks of color palette make the circuses standout set pieces all the more arresting. Plus, the movie is introducing two new characters — adorable, noble kids — that will be Dumbo's biggest defenders. In the original, if you remember, his best friend is a cartoon mouse.
So please, break out your tissues, take a deep breath, and watch the genuinely magical trailer for Dumbo:
So much to unpack, here. Like, how cute is Dumbo? And what is it about this over-the-top blend of human actor and CGI elephant that's so convincing? It feels real, yet unreal, which is undoubtedly due to Burton's mastery — this is the same director who is responsible for Alice in Wonderland and Beetlejuice, after all. It's also kind of grim, which makes sense. Dumbo is not an inherently happy tale, and you definitely get that from the way the plot is laid out here, but it's especially evident in the distressed trumpeting sound Dumbo makes as his mom is taken away. And when you hear "Baby Mine" come in the trailer, it's just, instant chills. Can you hug a feeling? No? So before everyone is crying on their phone, let's keep going!
As seen in this full-length trailer, the cast for Dumbo is absolutely stacked. Colin Farrell, Eva Green, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, to name a few, all play major roles in the film, but it's really young actors Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins' time to shine. As Disney promises in the trailer, this live-action Dumbo "expands on the beloved classic story," so it's not a shot-for-shot remake. In Burton's version, "differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight". That means it ends well, right? Because that clip where they trot out Dumbo in his sad clown makeup is haunting and definitely doesn't look like a happily ever after.
Dumbo won't be released until March 29, 2019, so it's still a few months away. On the bright side, that leaves audiences with a lot of time to prepare. Dumbo, like most early Disney fare (and later Disney, and current Disney, and all Disney, really), seems almost like it was written to emotionally wreck its audience. Furthermore — and this part is hard to believe — the original film is barely more than an hour long. Why they jam-packed that 64-minute runtime with as much emotional turmoil as possible is unclear. This movie will likely be much longer, so get ready for even more of an emotional roller coaster.
Fortunately, it appears that Burton is here to rescue childhood memories of Dumbo. Or at least, soothe them. But the bravest movie-goers out there might want to bring handkerchiefs with them just the same.