Disney is cracking open their vault to bring us Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray, which is the first time their beloved feature has been presented in high-definition. Even after all this time, Disney’s fourth (and at 64-minutes, one of their shortest animated features) holds up beautifully, and looks better than ever. Fans young and old, as well as newcomers will instantly fall for this classic, as it continues to be one of the greatest animated films of all-time.
For those who don’t know, Dumbo follows the tale of a lovable baby elephant with over-sized ears. After his mother is locked away for protecting him from children mocking and teasing him, and being ridiculed as a clown, he finally finds a real friend in Timothy Q. Mouse, who encourages Dumbo and helps him discover that his big ears grant him the power of flight. The two of them proceed to embark on a small set of adventures to free Dumbo’s mom and save the circus.
Disney has done a spectacular job with the film’s transfer, as Dumbo has never looked better than on Blu-ray. You can tell how much care was put into the digital re-mastering process, as the colors, brightness, and just overall picture have all been cleaned up exceptionally to the point you would think it was released 20 years ago, rather than an incredible 70. The DTS-HD 7.1 sound is also well done, as everything comes in loud and clear, especially since the original 1941 audio was mono.
Just as Dumbo himself is special, so are the wonderful HD features presented here. “Cine-Explore” lets you watch a picture-in-picture version of the film that’s hosted by Pixar director Pete Docter, Disney historian Paula Sigman and Disney animator Andreas Deja. They go into detail of the film with behind-the-scenes footage, production photos, artwork galleries and more. “Taking Flight: The Making of Dumbo” is a nice 28-minute HD feature which continues the information shared from the Cine-Explore, while adding some new tidbits as well.
There’s two deleted scenes, “The Mouse’s Tale” gives viewers some back-story on Timothy and the conflict between mice and elephants. While “Are You a Man or a Mouse” is a deleted song that would have been used just after Dumbo becomes a clown. “The Magic of Dumbo: A Ride of Passage” is a brief feature about the creation of the Dumbo ride at Disneyland. There’s also two bonus vintage Disney cartoons, an art gallery, and more little features to explore.
Dumbo: 70th Anniversary Edition on Blu-ray is simply a wonderful classic that should be mandatory viewing for fans of classic animation of all ages. It’s a beautiful tale of a mother and child’s love, with plenty of comedy, adventure, and plenty of timeless songs for all. Even better, there’s scores of special features and bonus content that extend the fun long after the final scene has played, making this one of Disney’s most comprehensive releases in years. If you’ve yet to visit the awesome world of Dumbo in high-definition, or just want to see it again for the first time, now is the time to do so with this incredible Blu-ray release that more than does the film justice. Because you haven’t seen anything, until you’ve seen this elephant fly.
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Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment