Disney’s classic film Dumbo was released this week in a 70th Anniversary Edition and I was lucky enough to get a chance to review the Blu-Ray version. We already owned the original DVD version but the high definition blu-ray puts it to shame. It is beautiful! My two year old Miss J had never seen Dumbo before and she was entranced from the moment the circus music starts up with the menu. Normally the only shows she will watch are Curious George and Phineas and Ferb (her taste is superb I know!) but Dumbo and Timothy Q. Mouse captured her interest and it was a wonderful change of pace on the TV this week.
To tell you a little bit about the restoration process, the Walt Disney Studios Restoration Team used the original nitrate camera negative and an original 1941 ‘release’ print as color reference. They restored Dumbo to color settings “most likely approved by Walt Disney himself”. They also took original audio and used this to build the new mix for the Blu-Ray release. That’s all a bit over my head but I have to tell you the film looks and sounds absolutely wonderful. It’s hard to believe Dumbo is actually 70 years old.
The new 70th Anniversary Edition is being sold as a 2-Disc Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack or a 1-Disc DVD. You can also purchase a separate High Definition or Standard Definition movie download. Each of the release versions has a slightly different set of bonus features, you can see which has what over at Disney’s Dumbo site.
I have the Blu-Ray + DVD Combo. The DVD comes with a deleted scene and song. Audio commentary is included along with a feature about the Making of Dumbo. There’s also one titled “The Magic of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage” all about the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. We just took our kids to Disneyland for the first time this summer and Dumbo was a big hit. We avoided the lines by riding it at 11:30 pm after all the younger kids had gone to bed. Dumbo in the dark, fantastic! Definitely a “ride of passage”. On the Blu-Ray disc we have two games, a “Celebrating Dumbo” featurette and two animated shorts. Miss J enjoyed “Elmer the Elephant” and “The Flying Mouse” as much as she enjoyed Dumbo. Those are a nice addition for shorter viewing. The Blu-Ray also includes Cine-Explore and Disney View versions of the movie. Cine-Explore has picture-in-picture commentary. The commentary is done by Disney historian Paula Sigman, animator Andreas Deja and Pete Docter from Pixar. The Disney View shows the film with painted borders around the picture, instead of a black box. You can imagine you are watching the movie in a theatre with curtains.
Dumbo has always been one of my favorite Disney classics, for several reasons. When I was younger I loved it for the “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence. I may not have understood what was in that barrel but boy did I enjoy what happened after they found it! Now that I’m a mom I love the movie’s theme of a mother’s unconditional love. Watching it again with Miss J I completely sympathized with Mrs. Jumbo when she got after those mean boys who were making fun of Dumbo’s ears. In the same situation I’d have been locked up in a dangerous elephant cage too. I also appreciate Dumbo’s timeless message of believing in yourself, something we still need to hear 70 years later.
If you haven’t ever shared Dumbo with your children then I say now is a great time to start. If you have a Blu-Ray player then I’d go with the combo pack. You’ll get a fantastic movie experience plus extra bonus features. I’m glad Disney adds in the DVD because we still use those on car trips and at times when we don’t have access to the Blu-Ray player. It’s an ancient model and sometimes the wait for it to warm up isn’t worth the restless children. Are you listening Santa? If you don’t have a Blu-Ray player then don’t hesitate to buy the DVD. You’ll still get the restored version of the movie and plenty of bonus features.
Now I’m off to go grab my magic feather so I can muster up the courage to tackle a few things that I’ve been avoiding for awhile. Thank you for the inspiration Dumbo and Timothy!
Suggested Retail Price: Blu-Ray + DVD: $39.99, DVD: $29.99, Hi-Def Download: $39.99, Standard-Def Download: $29.99
I found the Blu-Ray + DVD Combo Pack at Amazon for much less –
Here’s a link to printable games and activities tying in with Dumbo’s big anniversary. Enjoy!
Disclosure: I received a free copy of Dumbo for review purposes. The opinion expressed in this review is entirely my own.