‘Dumbo’: Burton’s Last Stand

in Disney, Movies

dumbo sneak peek

Tim Burton has officially stepped away from the Walt Disney Company, describing it as a “horrible circus.” Could his version of Dumbo have foreshadowed this claim?

Amid other controversies including Genie+ and Bob Chapek’s frequent meddling, Disney has taken a heavy blow with the departure of Tim Burton from their studio. The prolific director behind such iconic films as Beetlejuice, Batman, and Edward Scissorhands has created and produced several hits for the Walt Disney Company, but it seems Burton has had enough of the constantly changing and at-times unstable environment currently plaguing the company. While this is all perfectly understandable, Burton might have alluded to his departure from the company as early as 2019 with his adaptation of Disney’s beloved flying elephant.

Related: Legendary Director Tim Burton Calls Disney a “Circus”, Stepping Away From Company

In an interview, Burton claimed that Dumbo had a “quite autobiographical” element, comparing himself to the film’s main character. From a certain point of view, Burton’s statement is more correct than some might first believe. First-time viewers might only see a weird and whimsical adaptation of the original Disney classic with the director’s eccentric trick, which is what Burton delivers in spades. However, seasoned viewers familiar with the filmmaker’s style and career will immediately draw parallels between Dumbo’s days at the circus and Burton’s time with Disney.

Credit: Disney

Burton has stated previously that he liked being “Disney’s pet weirdo,” and that’s remarkably similar to how Dumbo was represented in both the original and remake. When Dumbo first arrives, the factor that separates him from the other elephants is acknowledged, then hidden. Then, once Dumbo’s hidden talent is proven to be a significant attractor for the circus, he’s allowed to show it off to draw in more crowds. Only when Dumbo can fly on his own can he truly soar through the roof and be free. All of that can easily be applied to Burton’s rise to stardom.

Burton was recognized as a talented artist who soon found work with Walt Disney Pictures after his time at Cal-Arts. While his style was distinct and unique, Disney criticized him for being too dark. Once it was discovered that there was an audience for Burton’s work, Disney capitalized on it with projects like The Nightmare Before Christmas and soon had him back in their good graces. However, it was only after Burton was let go from the studio that he was truly allowed to show his talents and, much like Dumbo, fly free from the circus.

Related: Tim Burton Walks Away: What This Means For Disney

There are plenty of parallels between Burton’s time with the studio and Dumbo’s time at the circus, but that only further proves that he was the right man to adapt the character. Disney is not the same company it was during his days as an animator, and Disney might be long overdue for a wake-up call. They’ve lost one of their most prominent directors; how much longer will it take for others to follow him?

What do you think of Burton’s Dumbo? Tell us in the comments below!

Comments Off on ‘Dumbo’: Burton’s Last Stand