Tim Burton's new live-action version of Dumbo tells the familiar tale of a misfit elephant who soars to circus stardom on his oversized ears. But while the story has been expanded upon, the experience is lacking some of the creativity and emotional impact that some of the director's better works are known for. The Blu-ray release features a pleasing 1080p video transfer and a solid but restrained DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio mix, offering a fairly modest yet effective technical presentation. Supplements are pretty light but still provide some decent insights into the production. Though far from a new Disney classic, the overall package is still Worth a Look.
You can read our full thoughts on Tim Burton's Dumbo in our review of the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray HERE.
Vital Disc Stats: The Blu-ray
Disney brings Dumbo to Blu-ray on a BD-50 disc housed in a standard keepcase with a cardboard slipcover. The package also includes a DVD and an insert with instructions for a Movies Anywhere digital copy. At startup, users are prompted to select a desired language. After some skippable trailers, the disc transitions to a standard menu.
The movie is provided with a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Filled with splashes of circus-fueled imagery, the image looks quite nice on Blu-ray, even if it never soars quite as high as Dumbo himself.
The digital source is mostly clean, though there is some light grain-like noise visible in a few shots, particularly lower light scenes. Overall clarity is pleasing, but the image often veers toward a softer look, lacking the razor sharp quality that some other contemporary releases have. Fine textures are still strong in close-ups, however, revealing all of the wrinkles on Dumbo's skin. Likewise, wide shots of the circus and the film's marvelous Dreamland set are brimming with intricate details. The color palette is surprisingly restrained and even rather drab at times, but certain scenes pop nicely with vibrant saturation and an occasional golden-tinged hue. Purple skies at magic hour, pink elephants on parade, and various glittering lights are especially impressive. Contrast is fairly well balanced, but a few isolated shots look oddly flat and washed-out. And while blacks are mostly deep and inky, some shadows can veer toward a blueish cast.
Free from any major technical issues or egregious signs of compression, Dumbo hits Blu-ray with a pleasing HD transfer.
The film is presented with an English DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack, along with English SDH, Spanish, and French subtitles. While the track perks up well during key set pieces, overall atmosphere and dynamics can be bit restrained for a movie mostly set at a circus.
Dialogue is clear but can be mixed just a tad too low for my tastes at times. And though the general soundscape is solid, outside of major action scenes, ambience is a little lacking with only faint echoes of music and environmental murmurs hitting the rears. Considering the lively circus setting, I expected a little more activity all around. Still, left and right imaging is good, spreading appropriate directional effects from speaker to speaker. Likewise, the track becomes much more engaging during set pieces, expanding its scope nicely. Dumbo's flapping ears hit the surrounds, moving from side to side and from the front to rear as he soars. Crowd reactions and other effects like zooming roller coasters also engage the full soundstage. Bass is decent in certain scenes as well, especially during the fiery climax, but LFE and overall dynamics are comparatively limited.
Dumbo comes to Blu-ray with an effective but occasionally subdued mix. For comparisons sake, the Dolby Atmos track included on the 4K Blu-ray release does expand immersion a little with some intermittent height activity but, in general, both audio presentations are relatively modest.
Disney has included a decent assortment of behind-the-scenes featurettes. Save for one digital exclusive, all of the extras are presented on the Blu-ray disc. Meanwhile, the "Dreamland: Anatomy of a Scene" supplement is only viewable with the digital copy via services like Movies Anywhere.
Tim Burton's Dumbo presents an expanded live-action take on the animated classic. But while there are some impressive visuals, the overall experience feels a bit generic and disappointingly forgettable. On the technical front, the Blu-ray features a good 1080p video transfer and a solid yet modest DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio track. We don't get too many comprehensive supplements, but the included behind-the-scenes featurettes still provide a few decent insights into the production. Though the movie isn't quite as successful as some other recent Disney live-action remakes, it still has its moments. Worth a Look.