Toon Talk: Dumbo 70th Anniversary Edition
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Blu Elephants on Parade
Ten years ago, I began writing my Toon Talk film and DVD reviews for LaughingPlace.com, and one of the first year’s reviews was for the 60th anniversary DVD edition of Dumbo. Now, a decade later, Dumbo is back in a new high definition Blu-ray make-over in honor of its 70th anniversary. My, how time flies like an elephant when you’re having fun, especially when it comes to watching this beloved Disney classic!
Whether you and your family are seeing it for the first time or (like me) rewatching it for the umpteenth time, one will marvel at the simplicity and joy of this tale of a pint-sized pachyderm with super-sized ears who overcomes hardships to become a star. A pure delight for every minute of its brief 64-minute running time, Dumbo is sure to delight audiences for at least another 70 years.
Newly restored from a print housed by the United States Library of Congress, Dumbo looks as bright and colorful as it surely did upon its debut in 1941, if not more so. The film’s whimsical watercolor backgrounds look as squeaky clean as if they were painted only yesterday, and the animated characters pop off the screen... so watch out when our hero takes off.
The new Blu-ray offers several viewing options, including the original 4:3 presentation. And, if you want to fill up that giant TV of yours, you can enable the “Disney View” option, which inserts custom-made artwork (by James Coleman) on either side of the picture, framing it with subtle, complementary images. Or if you want to delve into the making of the film, “Cine-Explore” provides a video commentary, provided by Disney animator Andreas Deja, Pixar director Pete Docter and animation historian Paula Sigman, via picture-in-picture. This feature (which can also be heard as an audio only track on the standard DVD included in the Combo Pack) includes archival audio clips featuring the likes of such Disney legends as Ward Kimball, Wolfgang Reitherman, Joe Grant, Dick Humer and Jimmy MacDonald, as well as concept and production art, film clips and vintage film footage and photographs.