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Storm Boy opens this weekend, Dumbo deserved more love

Posted on 04 April 2019 by LeslieM


By “Cinema” Dave

http://cinemadave.livejournal.com

Despite being No. 1 in the box office last weekend, Dumbo disappointed in the box office numbers. Earning only 25 percent of its production costs, Dumbo faces much competition this spring break season with Shazam!, Pet Sematary and Storm Boy opening this weekend. The sad thing is that Dumbo is fine family entertainment directed by Tim Burton. While a darker version of the popular animated motion picture from 1941, this modern version of Dumbo eschews talking and singing animals. The new film focuses on a family and a small business facing a financial crisis.

Set in Sarasota, circa 1919, the film opens with the Medici Brothers Circus launching their annual barnstorming tour through the American Heartland. While in Joplin, Missouri (Walt Disney’s hometown), Ringmaster Medici (Danny Devito) welcomes the return of his ace trick rider (Colin Farrell) to his family and the birth of a baby elephant with big ears.

The story is simple and conflict will ensue. However, it is the attention to detail that makes Dumbo so special. Music that animals sang to in the first movie is used as heartfelt musical cues. “Baby Mine” is rendered with sideshow performers (bearded lady, strong man) playing a flute and ukulele, while resting between shows. Despite some mean behavior and a jump scare, Dumbo is a sweet movie to take children to if only to see how a family sticks together to solve problems.

Storm Boy opens this weekend and contains many of the same themes as Dumbo with far less special effects. Based on the novella by Colin Thiele, Storm Boy is a rite of passage story that is set on the Australian coast. Geoffrey Rush (who also produced) portrays Mike Kingley, a retiring business man who is concerned that his son wants to pave paradise and put up a parking lot, upsetting the economical balance of the beach front.

When reuniting with his granddaughter, Kingley reflects upon his youth with three pelicans, in particular Mr. Percival, an orphan pelican.  Mr. Percival and Kingley have a series of encounters on the island and become local celebrities.

“A good story has to go wrong before it gets better,” Kingley tells his granddaughter late in the film. It is sad, but Storm Boy concludes on a life affirming note. In fact, it will inspire you to go for an early morning walk on Deerfield Beach to watch and observe the birds on our beach.

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