As the song suggests, it would be very strange to see an elephant fly, and decades on from their original classic Dumbo, Disney are now planning a live-action version of the tale with Tim Burton at the helm, which some would argue is even stranger.
Naturally, the news has prompted questions over whether there will be a place for Johnny Depp in the project, but perhaps more unexpectedly has also caught the attention of animal rights organisations.
It is often forgotten that Burton is no stranger to Disney, as he began his career there as an animator working on features such as The Fox and the Hound. Once he had become a big noise as a director, he went back to them to make films including The Nightmare Before Christmas and Frankenweenie – maybe not so strange after all.
Ah, but how does his dark cinematic style marry with the cuddly, family-friendly style of Dumbo? The simple answer is, it doesn’t. The story, which will also be given a healthy dose of CGI, will centre around young elephants dreaming of flying away from nasty circus masters, which opens up a whole range of possibilities, but you can be sure that there will be a touch of the macabre (and what fun Burton could have with those crows).
But it seems his moral compass could also play an important part in the film’s development, as P.E.T.A. have appealed to the filmmaker to try and ensure that “the young elephant and his mother can have a truly happy ending by living out their lives at a sanctuary instead of continuing to be imprisoned and abused in the entertainment industry.” Burton has yet to respond, but this is an issue that has divided movie-goers everywhere.
With sequels to Beetlejuice and Alice in Wonderland currently in the works, Dumbo is a long way off yet. In the meantime, do you see Mr. Depp playing a part?