153 - Dumbo (1941)

A young elephant is ostracised for having huge ears.

Despite initially loving the young elephant - Dumbo - brought by a stork, the other circus elephants soon exclude him for having large ears. Dumbo's mother is then isolated for violently protecting her son from incessant teasing,

Dumbo's only friend, Timothy Q. Mouse, encourages him to see that his ears are not a hindrance, and Dumbo soon learns the full benefit of his oversized lobes.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Dumbo arrived at the start of a time where Disney were churning out animated classic after animated classic. The 1940's were a particularly busy time for Walter and his staff, producing twelve films in as many years.

Whilst most of these films turned out to be easily forgotten, there was one film that was clearly remembered for having a mute male protagonist who lived alone with his mother. Yes, Bambi. Oh, sorry, Dumbo.

The character similarities was not all that these films shared, however. Disney made great use of the weather (and especially rain) when depicting the mood. The musical numbers in both films can also be easily remembered.

As Dumbo moves through the story there is a rise in anticipation for something remarkable. The emotional output increases as Dumbo becomes more isolated and faces the brunt of continual jokes. This mood is, however, completely ruined by a song featuring pink elephant bubbles that is totally out of place - especially with the drunken theme.

Just as the film looks like it was about to throw away a certain five stars for something more around two, the addition of arguably the four greatest crows in history do enough to warrant a decent rating when they form a quartet to sing the headline song. Also, besides the alcohol-fueled madness the adult appeal is acceptable and in places very funny ("e-a-r-s... those what?! Oh, ears").

Bar the dip, a deservedly huge success for Disney and the perfect template for future animations.