Vulture wrote, “The circus settings do liberate Burton, giving him the opportunity to stage elaborate, bizarre acts with grandiosity and verve. Whether we’re watching Dumbo hoisted along a fake burning building to launch himself off a collapsing platform, or trying to navigate an ill-advised trapeze act, whenever the spotlights come on and the crowd roars, Dumbo comes to life. It helps also that Burton never lets us forget that we’re watching an elephant flying…. I could watch the circus scenes of this film forever, and thankfully, there are plenty of them.”
Variety added “Dumbo” is no folly; it doesn’t leave you feeling cheated. But it’s not exhilarating either. It occupies a carefully tailored, underimagined middle ground where even an elephant who flies can come to seem, by the end, a figure of flamboyant caution. Also Rolling Stone gives the positive review by saying “The computerized Dumbo is a marvel of cuteness and technical wizardry who steals every scene he’s in. What character designer Michael Kutsche does in terms of eye movement and facial expressions sets a new gold standard. It’s a shame that the script overcomplicates things. ”
USA Today reviews “[I]t is a sight to behold, especially for those who adore the weird aesthetic that Burton has cultivated for decades. Dreamland is a twisted, sepia-toned Disney World with marching clowns and Dixieland bands, and the director creates a dazzling big-top affair with synchronized dancers and trippy bubble elephants. ”
The hopes of diehard Burton fans might have been stoked by the recruitment of Michael Keaton and Danny DeVito, totems of the director’s more consistent days. But this is another frustratingly uneven picture, with thin characters — human and animal — that fail to exert much of a hold, reclaiming the story only toward the end… The actors all do what they can, but mostly get lost in the shuffle and end up with too little to do, , like Alan Arkin’s cynical New York banker by Hollywood Reporter.