In keeping with a recent trend, Disney is releasing a live-action version of one of its best-known cartoon films, Dumbo, this week. As an elephant enthusiast, I can’t wait to see how they’ll adapt some of the original animation film’s unsavory features, such as animal brutality, and the racial overtones, to the live-action adaptation. At least I don’t have to worry about the welfare of the animals in this Dumbo because they are all CGI. But I’m also looking forward to seeing how gothic maestro Tim Burton transforms a sweet tale about a young elephant with enormous ears into something dark and disturbing.
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If you’re anything like me, you’re addicted to watching videos of baby elephants tripping over their trunks or splashing around in the tub. Fortunately, there are also more cinematic methods to satisfy our elephant cravings, like as watching movies. In order to prepare for what may be the most well-known elephant in popular culture, you may want to watch one of these other films on elephants.
1. Water For Elephants
A veterinarian student named Robert Pattinson plays as a touring circus’s loving elephant Rosie in this romantic tale set in a traveling circus in 2011. Co-staring with her is Reese Witherspoon, who portrays a circus performer whose abusive husband is a part owner. As well as being a rare case of an older woman and a younger guy finding love onscreen, this film also has a stunning elephant as its central focus.
2. Operation Dumbo Drop
Operation Dumbo Drop is one of those films from the ’90s that may appear absurd to us now, but which we find endlessly amusing at the time. During the Vietnam War, Danny Glover, Denis Leary, and Ray Liotta play soldiers tasked with delivering an elephant to a town for one of its most holy rituals. The only issue is that the pachyderm must be airlifted into the village.
3. The Prince And Me: The Elephant Adventure
Fourth in the Prince and Me film series, which began with the Julia Stiles starrer in 2004. Queen Paige (Kam Heskin) and King Edvard (Chris Geere) attend an arranged marriage in Sangyoon (a fictional country modeled after India) in this direct-to-VOD sequel. The princess, however, is secretly in love with the elephant handler who will accompany her to her wedding.
4. Larger Than Life
This is just another of those laugh-out-loud silly comedies from the ’90s, but at least Bill Murray is in it. As Jack, Murray portrays a businessman who is left with an elephant named Vera by his father, who has passed away, in the film. In order to provide Vera a better life in Sri Lanka, Jack has to transport her across the nation, which naturally results in shenanigans.
5. Love And Bananas: An Elephant Story
Ashley Bell, an actor and director, traveled to Thailand in 2018 to film a documentary about the perilous task of rescuing elephants. It recounts the efforts of Lek Chailert, the founder of Thailand’s Elephant Nature Park, which provides sanctuary to the country’s rescued elephant population. A 70-year-old blind elephant named Noi Na is the documentary’s main star.
6. Whispers: An Elephant’s Tale
Live-action animals were used to convey stories in the 1990s as anthropomorphized live-action animals. The first films that come to mind are undoubtedly Milo & Otis or Homeward Bound. With live elephant voices provided by Angela Bassett and Joan Rivers, Whispers is another one of those films. Even if it’s not a documentary or a work of fiction, it’s still a charming film.
7. An Apology To Elephants
The elephant entertainment industry is examined in this 2013 HBO original documentary. An Apology to Elephants, a film directed by Amy Schatz and narrated by Lily Tomlin, will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the circus.
8. When Elephants Were Young
In addition to William Shatner narrating, this 2016 Canadian documentary follows a 26-year-old Thai man, Wok, who has been caring for his elephant, Nog Mai, since she was just three years old. A look at traditional mahout (elephant trainer) relationships, the declining elephant tourism sector in Asia, and Wok’s effort to rescue Nog Mai from captivity are all covered in the documentary.
9. Elephant Walk
After marrying into a wealthy family that owns land built on top of an elephant herd’s natural walk to the water, Elizabeth Taylor starred in 1954’s Elephant Walk as Ruth. Despite Ruth’s investigation into the plantation and her new family’s dark secrets, the animals keep trying to get to their water source through Ruth’s new house.
10 & 11. The Jungle Book
Whether you prefer the classic 1967 animated film or the more modern 2016 live-action version, both versions of The Jungle Book feature magnificent elephants directed by John Favreau. The live-action film’s elephants are more venerated and mysterious than the ones in the cartoon version, therefore the animation version has a distinct advantage.
12 & 13. Tarzan and The Legend Of Tarzan
This is another instance in which you have a choice between a live-action film and an animated one. Tantor, Tarzan’s elephant friend, and Phil Collins’ lovely vocals can be heard in the Disney cartoon Tarzan from 1999. Shirtless Alexander Skarsgrd is a positive in 2016’s Tarzan, which has less elephant interactions.
14. Dumbo (1941)
This new live-action Dumbo wouldn’t be possible without the classic 1941 film. The animated version of Timothy the mouse, if you’re missing him from the new movie, is adorably little.
Amazon, Vudu, and iTunes are all available for streaming.
These films demonstrate that elephants make the best movie stars.