By Chris Dugopolski
Years ago when I was seven or eight years old, I saw the cartoon Disney version of this story and remember liking it very much. It was not scary. Also it was a cartoon so nothing about it was real Today’s version is somewhat scary and has a darkness to it that I don’t think the cartoon version has. Tim Burton is the director and it shows. There are mean people who do nasty things to animals.
Disney has CGI perfected to such a degree that I was distracted into wondering what was real and what wasn’t. Were there any actual elephants in the movie or were they all computer generated? In typical Disney fashion there were talented mice and other creatures. Were any of them real? Was the snake real? What about the horses? How did they make Colin Farrell only have one arm? How much of the fantastic park was real in any way? The CGI is such a distraction that it takes away from the story, which is this case involves two children who are part of a flea-bag circus run by Max Medici played by Danny DeVito. Their father, Holt Farrier, played by Colin Farrell, has just returned from the war (World War I) and his left arm is missing, but he still wants to be the equestrian star of the show. However, due to financial worries, Max had to sell all the horses and he gives Holt the job of taking care of the elephants. Max has made a great investment by buying a pregnant elephant and on this night, she has her baby. The baby has freaky long ears and Max wants his money back. A Disney film cannot be complete unless it has some cute children and this one delivers with Milly and Joe Farrier played by Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins respectively. They befriend the little elephant and ultimately help him fly. The flying elephant attracts V.A. Vandevere, played by Michael Keaton, into investing into the Medici circus and this is where the story takes a dark turn. Michael Keaton plays a great villain.
All the players are excellent, but they play to a very thin story and the visuals are extremely beautiful, but too unreal.