Judging by the number of folks charged with driving under influence I am guessing the penalty is rather light. Of...

Disney’s ‘Dumbo’ soars to new heights


Disney's new live-action fantasy adventure “Dumbo” is loosely based on the 1941 animated film of the same name.


Friday, March 29, 2019

You have to hand it to Disney. They will sell you the lemon, then sell you lemonade, then sell you lemon méringue pie. Clever marketers, indeed.

Which brings us to Disney’s new movie, “Dumbo.”

First there was a children’s book called “Dumbo” by Helen Aberson and Harold Pearl. But nobody remembers them.

Then, in 1941, Walt Disney made an animated movie called “Dumbo,” the story of an elephant with ears so big he could fly. A charming fantasy featuring a cute little pachyderm that kids loved. I remember having a plastic toy based on Dumbo as a youngster. (Yes, there was merchandising to go with the feature-length cartoon even back then.)

In 1955, an aerial carousel-style ride called Dumbo the Flying Elephant opened at Disneyland. Today you can find the ride in six Disney parks around the world.

In 1981, Disney on Ice was licensed out, with Dumbo as one of the featured characters in the skating show.

In 1985, the Disney Channel introduced a puppet show called “Dumbo’s Circus” featuring “The World’s Only Flying Elephant.”

In 1995, Disney used the name in a war comedy called “Operation Dumbo Drop.”

In 2000, Dumbo was featured in a PlayStation 2 video game.

In 2009, Dumbo was introduced into the Disneyland nighttime fireworks show, in which the elephant flies around Sleeping Beauty’s Castle while synchronized music plays.

You get the idea.

So it’s no surprise that we now have a new, live-action fantasy adventure film called “Dumbo.” Loosely based on the 1941 animated film of the same name, it’s directed by Tim Burton (“Beetlejuice,” “Batman,” “Alice in Wonderland,” etc.)

“Dumbo” is currently soaring to new heights at AMC Fire Tower, 1685 E. Fire Tower Road, and Regal Cinemas Greenville Gande, 750 S.W. Greenville Blvd.

This version features a slightly different storyline from the original film: “Circus owner Max Medici enlists Holt Farrier to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughing stock in an already struggling circus. But when Holt's children discover that Dumbo can fly, persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere and an aerial artist named Colette Marchant swoop in to make the peculiar pachyderm a star.”

Danny DeVito is cast as Max, the ringmaster of the circus.

Michael Keaton plays V.A. Vandevere, the man who buys the circus.

Colin Ferrell gives us the one-armed war veteran who is hired to care for the newborn elephant with the big ears.

Eva Green is flying high as the French trapeze artist.

Dumbo himself is a CGI recreation of the original flying elephant. However, two elephant props were used during filming “to give the production team an idea of his size and his shape in the scene; an idea of the lighting, and that kind of thing; where he's going to be for camera.”

For Tim Burton, it was like old home week. He’d worked with Keaton in movies ranging from “Beetlejuice” to “Batman.” DeVito had a role in “Batman Returns.” And Eva Green appeared in “Dark Shadows” and “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.”

Also, Burton’s frequent collaborator, Danny Elfman, did the film’s score.

This was Ferrell’s first time working with Tim Burton. He said he took the role because “the idea of acting in something as sweet and fantastical and otherworldly, while being grounded in some recognizable world that we can relate to, under the direction of Burton” was something he always wanted to do.

Absent from this retelling of the Dumbo story is the little elephant’s rodent mentor Timothy Q. Mouse, as well as Jim Crow and his flock that helped Dumbo learn to fly.

Why their absence? After nearly 80 years, maybe it’s thought that Dumbo can stand — uh, that is, fly — on his own.

Shirrel Rhoades is a former executive with Marvel Entertainment, a writer, publisher, professor and filmmaker. He is from North Carolina and lives in Florida. Contact him at srhoades@aol.com.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


April 20, 2019

Maybe we should have had this Mystery Plant back at Thanksgiving: some people think that the leaves of this little tree resemble a turkey’s foot, which for me would require a good bit of imagination.

I suppose that the middle lobes look a bit like the turkey’s toes on the sides, and of…


April 19, 2019

Cap­sules of movies play­ing lo­cally. New re­leases are in­di­cated with an as­ter­isk.

AFTER — After follows Tessa - armed with grand ambitions for her future, her guarded world opens up when she meets the dark and mysterious Hardin Scott, a magnetic,…


April 19, 2019

Best of Enemies is the recent release based on the true story of an unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist, and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader.

Set in Durham, N.C., during the racially charged summer of 1971, Atwater and Ellis come together to co-…


April 17, 2019


DEAR HARRIETTE: I am nervous about the idea of going to therapy. I was invited to go in order to build a stronger relationship with a family member, but I cannot imagine how talking to a stranger will help.

Whenever my relative and I are around each other for more than a couple of hours, we…

Harriette Cole

April 17, 2019


If "Unplanned" was an ordinary movie, its creators would be busy right now studying second-week box office numbers while starting negotiations with the digital giants that stream products to the masses.

But this has never been an ordinary movie, which is why it's an important test case for…

Terry Mattingly

April 17, 2019

Not those kind of mushrooms, silly. You want these mushrooms — namely, dried porcini mushrooms — in your kitchen. They keep indefinitely in your pantry and can easily be reconstituted for use with pasta, risotto, soups and sauces. Or you can simply blitz the heck out of them and turn…

Porcini Lamb Chops

April 17, 2019

As a parent, instilling healthy eating habits in your children at an early age can aid in proper growth and development. Eating well goes a long way toward maintaining a healthy weight, increasing energy levels and improving moods while also reducing risk of obesity and other chronic issues such as…


April 17, 2019

As the Hot Dish writer, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to share my culinary adventures with you on a weekly basis. I get to eat amazing food, meet wonderful business owners, customers, and not only educate you on how food taste, but bring you into the culture that surrounds the food.…


April 17, 2019

Dear Readers:

First a shout out to those who joined my Cooking Matters grocery store tour sponsored by Pitt Partner’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Action Team. I had a grand time sharing tips on how to eat healthy on a budget as we roamed the aisles of a local Food Lion store.

I was ably…

Kolasa, Kathy

April 14, 2019

The North Carolina Literary Review editorial staff has awarded the first John Ehle Prize to Patrick E. Horn for his essay on 19th-century writers George Moses Horton and Caroline Lee Hentz. The essay will be published in the NCLR 2019 issue.

Award-winning novelist Terry Roberts explained his…

174 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 18
        Next Page»   Last Page»