Blu-Ray Review: Amazing Release For Disney’s Timeless ‘Dumbo’

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CHICAGO – The recently-released Blu-ray edition of “Dumbo” not only contains one of the best digital restorations in the history of animation but it includes never-before-seen storyboards and “deleted scenes” from one of Disney’s most timeless and beloved classics. Most of all, this critic was struck by how well “Dumbo” has held up in its 70th anniversary edition. The film remains one of the most enjoyable and delightful pieces of animation ever produced. It is a must-own for not just all Disney fans but all Blu-ray owners, period. DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0
DVD Rating: 5.0/5.0

Disney has produced incredible Blu-ray editions of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” “Pinocchio,” “Sleeping Beauty,” and more. They’re slowly working their way through their vaults (although a little more quickly with passing time as both this title and “The Lion King” will debut on the format in less than a month’s time). They have truly led the way in the world of Blu-ray animation with HD transfers that are never less than breathtaking. And “Dumbo” is one of the best. This is one of those films that I’m guessing most readers have seen on shaky VHS or possibly a DVD version of the old transfer or even on TV but, quite simply, never like this. The colors are brighter, the line detail is crisper — everything about this “Dumbo” looks new and the quality of the transfer is reason alone to buy it.

Dumbo was released on Blu-ray on September 20th, 2011
Dumbo was released on Blu-ray on September 20th, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

“Dumbo” was actually created almost entirely to turn a profit. Disney was coming off the very-expensive “Fantasia” and they knew that this brief film (it’s only 64 minutes) could be turned out relatively quickly and make some cash for the fledgling studio. It was based on a small book by Helen Aberson and it certainly can’t be pointed to as one of the Mouse House’s most ambitious early works and came in as the studio’s least expensive film to date (after “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves,” “Pinocchio,” and “Fantasia”).

Dumbo was released on Blu-ray on September 20th, 2011
Dumbo was released on Blu-ray on September 20th, 2011
Photo credit: Walt Disney Studios

But there’s something so sweet about the simplicity of “Dumbo” that has made it a hit with critics and audiences. “Dumbo” was released in 1941 and grossed twice its budget in its initial running before adding to its profits with re-released over the years to come. It was named just this year by TIME as one of the 25 best animated films ever made. “Dumbo” is a perfect slice of family entertainment — memorable, charming, and with a solid message about being yourself despite your perceived inadequacies. “Dumbo” has been beloved for 70 years and will be so for at least 70 years to come.

The Blu-ray release includes some recently-discovered deleted scenes along with stellar behind-the-scenes documentaries about the making of the movie. I know I’m a broken record here but forgive me for saying this again — if you’re not buying the Disney vault Blu-rays being released just a few times a year then your Blu-ray player is not doing its job. This is one of the best family Blu-rays yet produced.

Special Features:
o Disney View - Expanding Viewing Experience
o Cine-Explore Experience
o Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scene
o Never-Before Heard Deleted Song
o Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo
o The Magic of Dumbo: A Ride Of Passage
o Audio Commentary
o Celebrating Dumbo - Featurette
o Art Galleries
o Animated Short The Flying Mouse
o Animated Short Elmer Elephant
o What Do You See? - Decipher the scrambled images in this game
o What Do You Know? - Fun trivia game for all ages and More
o BD Live Enabled

“Dumbo” was released by Disney on Blu-ray and a remastered DVD on September 20th, 2011. content director Brian Tallerico

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