Satire is a beautiful thing. But it has to be done right.
The 1984 film, Johnny Dangerously is a satire of the gangster flicks of the 1930’s and 1940’s. Johnny Kelly/Johnny Dangerously (Michael Keaton) is devoted to his sick mother. Unless she is able to pay for several expensive operations, she will die.
The only way for Johnny to pay for the operations is to turn to a life of crime. This of course, is not smooth sailing, especially when he crosses paths with Danny Vermin (Joe Piscopo) and gets involved romantically with Lil (Marilu Henner).
The reviews of this film, back in the day, were a mixed bag. To be fair, the criticism is warranted. Though there is plenty of material to spoof, at some point, I want the narrative and not an easy gag.
Over the past few years, Disney is intend on using our childhood memories to bring us once more to the movie theaters. This weekend, the reboot of Dumbo (1941) was released.
Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) has just returned home from fighting in World War I, sacrificing one of his arms in the process of fighting for his country. His wife died during the war, leaving his two children Milly (Nico Parker, Thandie Newton‘s daughter) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) motherless. Stuck in the past, Holt is unable to move forward until his boss and circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) puts Holt in charge of the elephants. One of the female elephants has just given birth, the newborn elephant has unusually large ears that allow him to fly. After the circus has a bit of success with the new elephant, named Dumbo, V.A. Vandervere (Michael Keaton) takes notice of the little elephant. He wants to add Dumbo to Colette Marchant’s (Eva Green) aerialist act. But Vandervere’s plans are not completely altruistic; he has some plans up his sleeve that are questionable.
First of all, I have to give kudos to the screenwriters. Not only did smartly remove the racist caricatures of the crows, but they used Dreamland as the background for the second half of the movie. Dreamland is not a well-known subject unless one is well versed in the history of New York City or early 20th century amusement parks.
I haven’t seen the original animated film in quite a few years, but I feel like this reboot is close enough in narrative to its predecessor. What is nice about this film is that not only is not the typical slightly out-there Tim Burton film, but it speaks of animal cruelty and gives Milly, as a budding scientist, her due.