Dead Disney #1- Dumbo II

23 Apr

So I thought that this would be an interesting series to do. There are plenty of blogs out there dedicated to reviewing movies or character that already exist. And those are great! But why not doing a tour of the Disney graveyard, and see the films and characters that weren’t fortunate enough to make it to the Big Screen.

There are A LOT of these. And I was trying to decide which dead Disney film to examine first. Most of the Disney films that were shelved are ones that I would love to see more of, and wish would of made it. So for my first post, we’ll examine one that I thank the Animation Gods for making sure it never saw the light of day.

The subject for my first post in this series is- Dumbo II

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You all aren’t aware of this, but Dumbo is one of my favorite Disney movies, favorite animated movies, movies of all time. It is very short, it doesn’t have Disney’s best animation, it’s simple, and it’s controversial. But none the less, I think it’s a brilliant film. I believe that it has the most underrated Disney soundtrack, and Timothy is one of my favorite characters in the whole Disney canon.

I’m not the only one who appreciates Dumbo so much. It’s actually John Lasseter’s (Director of Toy Story and chief creative officer at both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios) favorite movie of all time, and is a huge inspiration to all his films. I agree with Lasseter that Dumbo is a funny, moving, and entertaining film. Lasseter points out that it definitely lives to Walt Disney’s saying that ‘For every laugh, there should be a tear”.

What? No I’m not crying. I just have something in my eye.

There’s only one other Disney movie I like more than Dumbo, and if you’ve read some of my other posts you already know what it is (for those of you who are new, it involves a cricket).

So let’s take a look into Dumbo II. There’s actually a trailer of some persuasion out for this thing. It was included in the bonus features of the 2001 60th Anniversary DVD of Dumbo. It was to be a direct-to-video sequel. So we have a good grasp on the characters and story of what this film would of been. You can watch it right here. It’s narrated by the standard Disney voice over guy.

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The trailer is basically a behind the scenes look at the production of the film. It starts off with the artists talking about the legacy of Dumbo, and how sad the movie is, and how everyone can learn from it that we’re all different bladablhadablha.

The producer says that the challenge was to make a sequel that brings the same feelings that the original did. I try to be optimistic,  but I really know that that challenge would of failed. You can never recapture the magic of an original Disney film, isn’t that right Cinderella III and Peter Pan II?

I’ll be honest though, the only good part about Cinderella III was the Prince. He’s such a sassmaster.

Here’s the story of Dumbo II. It would of taken place a day or so after Dumbo ended. Now that Dumbo isn’t considered a freak (as he’s bringing in major bank for the circus) he’s made a group of super cool and hip friends. The major theme for this movie is friendship, and how friends are there for you and all that stuff we already learned in Kindergarten.

So who are these friends? Well Timothy for sure was slated to return, as he was Dumbo’s first friend when Dumbo had no friends. Timothy works on another level, as Dumbo is silent and Timothy can understand Dumbo and act has his surrogate voice.

dumbob

As for the new friends, each is based off of a different stage of development children go through.

There’s Claude and Lolly, the twin bear who rush to get every done, leaving a string of chaos behind them.

dumbod

chaos

Dot the Zebra the curious Zebra who always asks “whywhywhywhywhy”

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Godfey the ‘I can do it all by myself” Hippo.

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and Penny the adventurous Ostrich. She likes being in the spotlight and looks just like Daisy Duck.

dumbog

I’m not crazy for any of the characters  But I actually like Penny the Ostrich. The filmmakers point out that she’s a bit jealous. Dumbo is an elephant, who can fly. She’s a bird, who can’t fly. I think that would of led to an interesting conflict actually.

And the plot of the story is that the gang manage to get separated from the circus. Too hard to grasp? Not really. In Dumbo, the only boundary between the mother elephant and the spectators was a puny rope, allowing for that one bastard kid to enter the elephant arena and tease Dumbo. Security is not tight, so I’m guessing that it’d be fairly easy for a group of baby animals to escape.

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So now the animals are lost in the big city, and the major conflict is the baby animals dealing with their new freedom, but still trying to find the circus.

Isn’t that what this was about?

My main question about Dumbo II is this. How were they going to deal with the Crows? I’m not going to get too much into the Crows themselves in this post. I already addressed them a little bit in a previous post, and I’m currently writing a whole article about the controversy surrounding them. I won’t defend or condemn them in this post.

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But it is a fact  that they have a good deal of controversy about them. They have their fans, but they also have their criticizers. For those of you who haven’t seen Dumbo (who are you people, go see it!), Dumbo gets assistance from a murder of Crows. They are funny and helpful, and are basically the heroes of the film.

That’s right.  Heroes. Dumbo is cute, but is a baby and didn’t do much. Timothy tried to help Dumbo, but he actually made things worse. It was the Crows who suggested using psychology to get Dumbo to fly. So if they’re the heroes what’s the problem?

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They’re a group of jive talking Black stereotypes who are led by a crow who (although not called this in the film) was referred to Jim Crow in story production. While controversial now, they were in super strange way, progressive for their time (Show me a film from the 1940s where African Americans are the heroes, and are  shown as self confident and not dependent, intelligent and not stupid). These days Disney gets cited for being racist for having these characters in this films. So when it comes to Dumbo II, we run into a few problems.

The first option is to just ignore the existence of the Crows. Completely. Which I don’t like. They were such a big part of the first film, and Dumbo wouldn’t of gotten a happy ending without them.

The second option is to have the Crows in Dumbo II. But then it gets iffy, because while having jive-talking hipster crow was acceptable in the 1940s, it definitely isn’t savvy with our standards now.  South Park or Family Guy could get away with having characters like this, but I assure you people would get upset if Disney tried to pull this again. Generally, I find that people are forgiving of the Crows because they were products of the 1940s. But it wouldn’t fly now.

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Remember Princess and the Frog? People got all upset because the heroine was to be Maddie, an African American housemaid. Maddie was seen too close to “Mammy”, and her occupation was offensive as well. So Maddie the housemaid became Tiana the waitress. They made the film more PC because of criticism  which I’m not complaining about. I liked Tiana, and having her as a waitress/cook contributed to the story. Disney is very sensitive to how they portray race and gender in films these days. So it’s no question that if the Crows were in the film, they would of been made politically correct. And I’m very interested to see what that would of been like.

Although we don’t know for sure, I think (and hope) that the crows would of been in this film. They made cameo appearance on The House of Mouse. They also appear sometimes in merchandising, such as children books and pins. (I’m a Disney pin trader, and I actually have a Crow pin).

Remember what I said earlier about Disney being more PC? The crows’ grammar certainly improved.

——————————

So what happened to Dumbo II? This happened:

John Lasseter!

When John Lasseter became the Creative Director for Disney, he put a stop to all Disney sequels. Because instead of introducing children to the classics like intended, the sequels often tarnished the spirit of the original films. And it’s not surprising that Lasseter wouldn’t want the same thing to happen to his favorite film.

So my final consensus on Dumbo II? I’m intrigued, very intrigued. I wish that we would know more information about this film, that’s for sure. But I’m a “purist” when it comes to Disney films. And I’ve never been impressed by a Disney sequel that wasn’t canon. And I’m a huge fan of the original Dumbo, and I’m certain it could never come close to the original. Also I think this sequel specifically appealed to small children and parents. The getting separated from parents is an archetypal fear for children, and  each of the new animal friends was based of a phase of child development. So it’s very relatable for children, and I’m sure parents would think that is interesting as well. But besides that, I don’t see this film reaching out to other demographics.

I want to know what you think! Feel free to make a comment on what you think of the plot, the new characters, and the crow situation. Thank you for reading!

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35 Responses to “Dead Disney #1- Dumbo II”

  1. The Animation Commendation April 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    Love this new category of posts and am SOOO looking forward to read the upcoming ones!

    Dumbo II would have been a hit or miss with me. I wouldn’t have been ecstatic to see it, but I also wouldn’t have been horrified by the mere thought of it.

    My favorite direct-to-DVD Disney sequel is The Lion King 2.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 23, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      Thank you! There is defintely a lot of interesting posts I can do from this! I think the next one will be either Cuban Carnival or Newt.

      Yeah, I think I would of certainly seen the film, but I’m near certain I wouldn’t love it. I think that TLK2 had a very good soundtrack!

      • The Animation Commendation April 24, 2013 at 8:02 am #

        I’m glad that “Newt” was never made to be honest. The weirdest Disney movie that didn’t make it, in my personal opinion, was one that was meant to be released early during Disney’s life. It involved a missionary baptizing penguins, lol!

      • Kenzie (manicmation) April 24, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

        I agree with you on Newt. Especially since Rio was made. They were basically the same thing, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s why Newt was cancelled.
        I’ve heard of that one! I’ll totally make a post about that one.

      • The Animation Commendation April 24, 2013 at 2:42 pm #

        I think that was EXACTLY the reason why “Newt” was cancelled, lol.

      • Kenzie (manicmation) April 24, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

        Haha seriously! I’m glad that Rio happened instead of Newt. The story isn’t great at all, but at least in Rio there was the magnificent Brazilian setting and amazing Samba tunes that made it unique. (Still though, it has the same plot as Ice Age 2. And BOTH were made by the same studio. :/ )

      • The Animation Commendation April 24, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

        I don’t really have much respect for Blue Sky Studios. They’re just money-making people, in my opinion.

      • Kenzie (manicmation) April 24, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

        Well, that’s what all major studios are really. They are a business that wants to make money. The producers won’t provide the funding for the film to be made unless there is a guarantee that it’ll make money. and when a film doesn’t, well see what happens to Rise of the Guardians. Can you still do art? Yes. Disney itself is a huge corporation.

        And I think Rio is a good example of a film being more about making money. The director was a Carioca, he wanted to present a movie about his city of Rio de Janeiro. (There are some aspects about Rio I love, and some I don’t. I’m not crazy on the cliche story or the casting of some of the characters. But the detail, focus on the animal trade, music, and how they weren’t afraid to show the Favela sides of Rio was very impressive)

        But yes, I see what you mean as Blue Sky is one of the big sequel studios out there, but it really depends on the film. (Ice Age was great, but after that they just sequeled it to death)

  2. thevaultjm April 23, 2013 at 8:10 pm #

    Interesting post! Disney sequels have definitely been more misses than hits. The one I did enjoy was Lion King 1 and 1/2. Other than that I avoid them at all costs, except for Pixar films.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 23, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

      Much thanks, and also thank you for following! And you know what? I think Lion King 1 1/2 wasn’t as bad as most people make it out to be. Maybe it’s bc Timon is one of my favorite characters, idk. I actually like it better than Lion King 2.

  3. supashmo April 24, 2013 at 6:28 am #

    The sequels just didn’t seem to understand the originals. My problem was they modernized them way too much, and thus only appealed to little kids too young/dumb to understand culture and setup.
    Case and point: Mulan 2. All of a sudden, feminism is hyper-accepted and the arguments turn out to be modern-day man-woman arguments instead of anything that could possibly have existed in Ancient China.
    The cast of Dumbo 2 sounds like your everyday attempt at a ragtag group of who-gives-a-rip. Let’s add new, fun characters to relate to the kids! Or…let’s add ONE or TWO new character that actually contribute to the plot in a non-generic way!
    Apparently, this is a passionate subject for me…ah, well, can’t wait to see the rest!

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 24, 2013 at 12:07 pm #

      Oh wow. That is a very valid point about Mulan 2. And I agree with you on the sequels. While there are a couple I do like a bit, there’s none that are on the same level as the canon films. The only exceptions I think are The Three Caballeros to Saludos Amigos, and The Rescueres Down Under to The Rescuers.

      • supashmo April 24, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

        I kind of liked Lion King 2. It at least seemed to go somewhere and had something to do…even if the whole evil-lions thing was baloney. Still, it upped the stakes and had some surprisingly awesome music.

      • Kenzie (manicmation) April 24, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

        I agree with the music, I mentioned in another comment that it does have a great soundtrack.

  4. unshavedmouse April 25, 2013 at 3:20 pm #

    Really interesting idea. I love it. As for sequels…I seem to remember the two Aladdins as being vaguely watchable, other than that…blech.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 25, 2013 at 6:17 pm #

      Thank you! And yes, I remember seeing one of the Aladdin sequels when I was younger, and liked it. I haven’t seen it for years though, so idk what I’d think now.

      • Lighty June 15, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

        FYI, there were a few things that could be called “sequels” based on a hazy recollection 🙂
        There was “Return of Jafar” (the Russian version of “You’re Only Second Rate” is awesome!), something ’bout forty thieves and Aladdin’s father (a much newer one, which I don’t particularly remember for some reason) and a TV series (which I loved to catch on TV as a kid, but the last time I’ve seen an episode, I cringed at how they made Genie so dumb. I know why – else he could become a magic wand, even as a free man… genie… but it was still sad. Should re-watch more than the one episode, probably. Some *were* dumber than others… The one where Al got Genie the flu cure was funny.)
        And there’s also a Hercules cross-over, but Jafar doesn’t sound like himself there. Which is a pity. What’s the sinister snake without his charming manners?

  5. Craig April 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I’m grateful for John Lassetter. We know Sleeping Beauty 2 would have followed eventually.

    I’m actually kind of a defender of Peter Pan 2. Now mind you, the songs were second rate as was the whole Octopus thing ( I missed the croc), but the heart of it actually still touches me – especially the ending. Was it necessary? Absolutely not. Did I enjoy it? Yes. Can’t say the same about many other sequels.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 26, 2013 at 6:34 pm #

      What I’ve seen from the comments, everyone has a sequel that’s a guilty pleasure. One interesting aspect about Peter Pan 2 I think is that they incorporated the Blitz into it.

    • Lighty June 15, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

      I’m one of those people who’ve never seen Dumbo… But I’m also grateful for John Lassetter – if only for the hand-drawn “Princess and the Frog”!

      • Kenzie (manicmation) June 23, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

        I hope you get the opportunity to watch Dumbo! It’s a classic, with an interesting history behind it.

  6. Nathan Young April 28, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Dumbo deserve a sequel, Dumbo II is what we all need.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) April 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

      Thank you for visiting my blog! Happy to meet another fan of Dumbo.

      • Nathan Young May 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm #

        Why wouldn’t I be a fan of any disney movie?

  7. L. Marie May 1, 2013 at 7:13 am #

    Wow. I didn’t know Dumbo II was ever in the works. I’m okay with sequels as long as they’re done well. (Didn’t much care for Aladdin 2: Return of Jafar.)

    • Kenzie (manicmation) May 1, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

      I didn’t know either! Until like last month when someone on Pixar Planet told me.

  8. nitrateglow May 9, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    I’m so glad this was never made. These sequels were not made to entertain anybody: they were just cheap wastes used to make a quick buck. It really annoys me that with all the wonderful things they could do with that cash, they poured it into lackluster productions. The only one I’ve seen that I didn’t mind was The Lion King 1 1/2. Peter Pan 2, from what I remember, at least had decent animation and it was interesting to see the WWII setting, but that’s all.

    If they’d ever even CONSIDERED doing a Pinocchio sequel, I’d have gone mad. It would have probably had them saving the boys from Pleasure Island or something, taking away the gravity of those scenes in the original.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) May 12, 2013 at 11:07 pm #

      Exactly, and that’s why I’m glad that Lasseter put a stop to the direct to video sequels, bc it was obviously not worth the money and effort. I too don’t mind LK I/2. Probably bc it is suppose to be goofy, has good songs, and NATHAN LANE.

      And I am 1000% with you on Pinocchio II. I adore the original, and there’s no way in Hell the’d do a sequel even 1/4th justice.

  9. Jim Heartney June 18, 2013 at 8:04 pm #

    A bit late to the party here (found the post when I googled “What happened to Dumbo II?”). Anyway, I’m a huge fan of the original Dumbo, not least because I think it has a subversive side we rarely saw in later Disney.

    Consider, for example, the “Pink Elephants on Parade” sequence, which, aside from being visually brilliant, would have fit in comfortably in a 60’s underground acid comic. And remember that the whole thing is literally a drug-induced hallucination. Clearly we’re dealing with a storytelling landscape very different from anything we have today.

    Another part of the movie I love is the sequence with the circus roughnecks putting up the big top at night in pouring rain. Actually a rather dark scene, as we see everyone, including the animals, working their asses off; this is not a bright cheery world, it’s a place where people live hardscrabble lives. And beautifully, this hard work is reflected with a certain subtlety by the fact that all the animals are so sleepy in the parade the next day.

    But probably the greatest tour de force in the movie is the fact that one of the central relationships shown, that between Dumbo and his mother, is done effortlessly without words. Dumbo has no lines, and his mother has only one, which is not spoken to Dumbo. Incredible.

    Anyway, a sequel couldn’t have had any of the darker elements, and it’s hard to see how they could have done the Dumbo and his mom relationship without being corny or cloying. Thanks to John Lasseter for stopping it.

    • Kenzie (manicmation) June 22, 2013 at 2:31 am #

      Never late to the party, my friend! I took a two break hiatus, but I’m going to start posting a new article each week starting tommorrow!

      Thank you for your comment, you brought up a lot of great points. You also explained why I liked Dumbo so much. It was artistically different and the storytelling done without words was brilliant. For sure, no sequel could touch it on many levels.

  10. Yvette January 7, 2014 at 12:42 am #

    Where are the rest of these?? I need more!!!

  11. Augusto Franco February 23, 2014 at 2:39 pm #

    I know that Disney Sequels can usually be bad and stuff, but MAN, I really wish they could have let Dumbo II slide. The concept of Dumbo and Timothy Mouse traveling the countryside with all these other cute baby animals (that each have their own unique personality) would have been really cool, especially getting to see Dumbo befriend the baby animals. I think they should have made it theatrical instead of direct-to-video with a bigger budget and bigger crew, maybe then we would have another Disney Sequel like The Rescuers Down Under and The Lion King II: SImba’s Pride that didn’t suck.

  12. eftelinguk April 2, 2014 at 3:33 pm #

    I’m not a fan of sequels either, though I remember a feature about Dumbo 2 on a DVD (probably Dumbo) and I always wondered what happened to it. I try to stay clear of most sequels, though I do own a couple I never knew there was a third Beauty and the Beast until a couple years back! Also, for the people who don’t remember the Return of Jafar too well, go and watch it on an HD TV now and you’ll see how bad it is. Unfortunately it isn’t just the story that lacks with many of the sequels, but the actual animation too.

  13. Rosetta Mcbride (@shadownights99) June 22, 2014 at 4:02 pm #

    i love Dumbo alot and i know so many people hate sequels but to be honest i like alot of sequels as long as they keep the time & year & things the same in the movie as the first coz who really wants to see a movie that was first made in the 90s/80s with iphones

  14. Annoyomus April 9, 2015 at 1:19 am #

    Aw come on dude who made this blog you know damn well a sequel wouldn’t have bothered you if John Lasseter never came into the picture 2006, I would’ve loved a Pinocchio sequel their were lose ends from the first one that never were solved. Like what became of the kids that got turned into donkeys? Would you want them to be solved or would you rather stay brainwashed by John Lasseter’s blinded misguided idealist mind. I think he could’ve risen through the ranks at Disney so fast because he bought off somebody and it helped. Because Lasseter looks like a greedy man who makes people jump for him at the sound of money. Face it the guy is a arrogant jerk, he’s got half of the disney fanbase like you fooled. Just like Zack Snyder has when he brainwashed half of the Superman fanbase by making them dislike the reeve superman films (yes all 4 of them not just 3 & 4)

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