Where to Stream the Original Animated ‘Dumbo’ Before You Watch the Live-Action Remake

Dumbo is flying back into theaters this Friday. Tim Burton directed the live-action remake of the classic 1941 animated movie, which is the first of three updates to beloved Disney films that will hit theaters this year. (The other two, Aladdin and The Lion King, arrive in May and July, respectively.)

So far, the movie is receiving mixed reviews, and it currently sits at just 55% on Rotten Tomatoes. But a lukewarm reception from critics won’t necessarily deter mom and dads who are looking for some family-friendly entertainment to enjoy with their kids. Variety predicts the movie will earn $50 million at the domestic box office in its opening weekend and likely nab the No. 1 spot.

How to watch the original Dumbo

Some reviewers have criticized the new Dumbo — which stars Colin Farrell, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, and Michael Keaton — for complicating a simple story. (The original movie is just 63 minutes long, while the remake clocks in at nearly twice that.) Christy Lemire, writing at RogerEbert.com, says the movie is full of “empty bluster and spectacle.” But Manohla Dargis of the New York Times was more generous, calling it a “welcome declaration of artistic independence for Burton” and “ exhilaratingly demented.”

You can judge for yourself how the animated original compares with the Burton remake by streaming the Disney classic. While the first Dumbo isn’t available on Netflix, you can rent it on Amazon and other streaming services.

Dumbo is available to rent from $2.99 on Amazon or for purchase from $12.99. It’s also available from YouTube, iTunes, Google Play, Vudu, Fandango Now, Microsoft, and DirecTV Cinema. You can also buy the movie on DVD for $12.99 from Amazon.

What’s different about the new Dumbo?

Dumbo premiere
The cast of Dumbo at the movie’s London premiere | Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images for Disney

As you might expect, the 2019 version of Dumbo is quite a bit different from the original. There are more human characters, for one, while animal characters from the original, like the mouse Timothy and the stork who delivers Dumbo to his mother, have been eliminated. Also gone are the flock of crows who help Dumbo learn to fly, now recognized as a racist stereotype.

There have been major changes to the story as well. For one, Dumbo doesn’t have to wait until the end of the film to learn how to fly. “The original ends with the elephant flying, and this version begins with that,” DeVito, who plays ringmaster Max Medici, said in a featurette about the movie. Some other memorable elements from the original, like the scene where Dumbo gets tipsy and hallucinates the pink elephants on parade, aren’t in the Burton film.

Much more time is spent getting to know human characters like horse trainer Holt Ferrier (Farrell) and his two kids, who care for Dumbo after he’s separated from his mom. And there’s a new villain in the form of V.A. Vandevere (Keaton), a devious businessman who wants Dumbo to perform at this Dreamland amusement park.

As for the ending, well that’s different too. We won’t spoil it, but know that things don’t turn out quite the same for the adorable baby elephant with the big ears and his loving mom.

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