Judge not lest ye be judged" is a foundation of faith. However, I have never met anyone who did not judge. Is it even...

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.


June 24, 2019

St. Peter Catholic School teams recently finished among the top schools at the NC FIRST Lego League State Championships in Greensboro

Wiredcats Green team finished fifth out of 60 teams in the robot game, and the Wiredcats Blue team finished 14th. Wiredcats Green's score of 171 was the seventh…


June 24, 2019

Fifty years ago, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the gaze of the world landed on the Moon.

Fifty years ago, that Moon was six feet closer to the Earth than it is today.

Every year, in fact, the Moon retreats from Earth by 1.5 inches, as a spinoff of gravity. Gravity pulls on both the Moon and…


June 23, 2019

I know there will be some of you who will say, “Bob Garner ought to stick with exclaiming ‘Mmm-mmm’ over his food and stay the heck out of politics.”

Believe me, I get that, and generally I agree. One of the things I love about being a foodie is that food can often help…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 19, 2019

It is no secret that health care communication can be incredibly complex. This is especially so for patients who experience language and cultural barriers.

Luckily, there is a group of specially-trained Vidant Health Language Access Service interpreters who offer a voice to patients in-need, 24/7.…


June 19, 2019

Q I saw a story in a cooking magazine with the headline, “yes ultra-processed foods could be killing you.” What are ultra-processed foods and is that a true statement? CC, Winterville

A I have said in this column, in talks, when counseling patients and when feeding family and friends,…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 16, 2019

Even though I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life working in TV, I was often too busy to actually watch much of it, or at least to pay much attention to the commercials.

Now that I’m semi-retired and am watching more television, mostly on cable news channels, I’m…

Bob Garner.jpg

June 14, 2019

In many ways, theater is like a spelling bee. Those preparing to take the stage spend weeks practicing and memorizing, hoping they won't get tripped up by a word when they get their moment in the spotlight.

Perhaps nowhere is this parallel more evident than in “The 25th Annual Putnam County…


June 12, 2019

Q My doctor told me to follow an anti-inflammatory diet. Can you give me any tips? MM, Winterville

A I hope your doctor gave your more information about your dietary goals since you won’t find that title in the diet manual used by health care professionals.

Most registered dietitian…

Kolasa, Kathy

June 12, 2019

One of my favorite summertime activities is attending cookouts. They have a myriad of tasty food from grilled meats, salads, desserts, and all the other fixings we associate with this event. One of my favorite things to serve at a cookout is seafood in any form from grilled, marinated to fried.


The whiting sandwich from 42 Fry.

June 09, 2019

Having experienced deep depression firsthand, I now feel a sense of kinship with others who have struggled to overcome the same condition and still battle regularly to remain mentally healthy

As someone who’s in the public eye in a very minor way, it encourages me to know about far more…

Bob Garner.jpg
201 stories in Look. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 21
        Next Page»   Last Page»