THERE’S A PECULIARLY 19TH CENTURY sensibility at work in Dumbo, both the 1941 Walt Disney animated version and Tim Burton’s new live-action retelling.
It’s as if once the workhouses were abolished, we needed to find new ways to build character in children: Why not just rake over their nascent emotions by introducing them to an adorable baby elephant who’s “different” and then fixating on his distress as his mother is carted away? Don’t stop there: Detail every twist of his precarious existence as he’s commodified and misused by people in power.
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April 8, 2019