Dog’s Movie House: “Dumbo,” “Us” Very Good Films For Different Audiences!
Howdy folks! It’s The Kendog with a look at “Us” and Disney’s latest “Dumbo.”
It’s a good time to get to the movies as the summer season begins to ramp up. (I know it’s still only March, but you know how this works!) Jordan Peele is back with a new horror thriller while Disney mines another of its animated classics for the live action treatment.
Let’s start with “Us.” Proving he’s no one-hit-wonder, Jordan Peele avoids a sophomore slump with “Us” a film about a family who suddenly find themselves stalked by evil doubles of themselves who, we soon learn, are known as the Tethered. Lupita Nyong’o and Winston Duke play Adelaide and Gabe Wilson, a loving couple and parents of two normal children. When they go to their summer house in Santa Cruz for vacation, things quickly head south when they are attacked by their doubles for reasons unknown. Not only do they have to evade their attackers but they also have to find out why the Tethered exist.
“Us” serves as an actor’s showcase, especially for Nyong’o whose double is the only one that speaks, using this horrifying croak that makes her sound like she’s gargling glass. The kids are very good as well, especially Shahadi Wright Joseph as the daughter whose double has one of the creepiest smiles you’ve ever seen. Writer/director Peele ramps up the tension a lot more than his debut feature “Get Out” but, like that first film, has a lot more on his mind than scaring his audience. This picture is one that invites rewatches and discussion in equal measure. A very effective chiller! 4 1/2 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer!
Next we have Tim Burton’s version of Disney’s classic animated film “Dumbo.” Using live action and CGI, Burton recreates the America of 1919 with his usual magical surrealism. The result is a wonderfully shot film that works most of the time even through bits of dodgy CGI and some thin characterizations.
Working from a script from Ehren Kruger, “Dumbo” tells the familiar tale of the young elephant with the oversize ears who can magically fly. All of the plot points of the 1941 classic are here: the magic feather, the heartbreaking separation of mother and child, Dumbo in clown makeup, etc. What Burton does here is expand the story involving a millionaire showman (Michael Keaton, twirling a mustache he doesn’t have) and the moving of Dumbo from the circus to this gigantic amusement park known as Dreamland (resembling a certain Magic Kingdom, of course). The story is a tad more convoluted as there are all sorts of mechanisms in play to try to reunite Dumbo with his mother. Most of it works, but the human characters are a little thin, especially Colin Farrell’s veteran and Keaton’s showman villain.
In the end though, the little elephant with the big ears will capture your heart. He is wonderfully animated and the expressive blue eyes of his are sure to bring tears to yours on more than one occasion. It isn’t perfect and the Michael Buffer cameo is godawful, but there are moments of pure movie magic in “Dumbo” that still make it a must see. 4 Out Of 5 On Kendog’s Barkometer! So Sayeth The Kendog!