Disney's live-action reimagining of Dumbo is certain to grab audiences by the feels and not let go. The timeless story of an outcast whose mother is taken away from him is nearly impossible to even read about without at least one heartstring getting pulled.
In this case, a lot of that is due to the shameless rendering of modern Dumbo as easily the cutest thing you've seen on a big screen in years. He has big, blue eyes, those trademark enormous ears, and coos in elephant to express happiness, sadness or fear. The only problem is that looking at him makes you incapable of thinking anyone could ridicule him, which, of course, is the film's premise.
Aside from that, Dumbo has us thinking about Disney's other live-action remakes of the past five years and what, if any, other creatures featured made us squee as much as this little elephant does. It turns out, there are several. The following is a list of the cutest creatures from live-action remakes starting with Maleficent and moving all the way up to Dumbo.
Plumette, Beauty and the Beast
Plumette isn't technically a creature, but considering 2017's Beauty and the Beast is about humans enchanted into anthropomorphic household items, she deserves a spot on this list. Also, she's a feather duster modeled after a swan; she counts.
Plumette is about as sexual as it gets for Disney films, but there's an innocence to Gugu M'Batha Raw's portrayal that makes her less vamp and more girl next door. Her sweet nature and adorable relationship with Ewan McGregor's Lumière make her the world's first feather duster/ingenue, and she wore it very well.
We don't necessarily think of ravens as "cute," but Diaval's steadfast devotion to Maleficent after she rescues him from certain death is nothing if not heartwarming. After being transformed into a human to avoid a beating at the hands of an angry farmer, Diaval pledges his life to the newly wingless fairy, and the two begin a deep friendship.
Through Maleficent, Diaval gains the power to shape-shift into any creature, but he often takes the form of a raven so she can adequately spy on King Stefan. The bird's analog in the original Sleeping Beauty is the angry bird that appears constantly perched on Maleficent's shoulder. The live-action film enhances their friendship, and makes him her champion, to the point where he even turns into a dragon at her behest.
Gus & Co., Cinderella
OK, they don't talk, they don't sing, and they don't wear tiny outfits painstakingly sewn by a girl with too much time on her hands. But the mice featured in 2015's live-action remake of Cinderella are clear throwbacks to the mice in the animated classic. Gus is even called out by name as he's shown guarding a giant pile of cheese.
They're not in the film long, but they do pack a nostalgic punch and elicit some live-action squees. It's a good thing director Kenneth Branaugh stopped short of being 100-percent true to life, though, as playing and sleeping with vermin was a good way to contract the plague. Still, they're precious.
Wolf Pups, The Jungle Book
Ironically, sweet little Mowgli was upstaged by his brothers on a regular basis in 2016's The Jungle Book, although that's understandable considering they're tiny, precocious balls of fur. The wolf pups grow up faster than Mowgli does, but Raksha has plenty of litters, so there are always little ankle-biters running around.
Grey in particular plays the part of annoying little brother to a tee. But it's the pups' dismay at the man cub's forced exodus following Shere Khan's threats that punches us right in the feels. Their innocence and confusion reflect the injustice, and earn them some serious affection from the audience. Also, puppies.
Ikki, The Jungle Book
Gary Shandling's Ikki amounts to barely more than a cameo in 2016'a The Jungle Book, but he arguably steals the first half of the live-action film. Ikki's stream-of-consciousness morning walk in which he identifies all manner of items -- rocks, more rocks and peace rock -- will make you want to hug him until it hurts. Ikki is extra-special because it marks the veteran comedian's final film appearance before he passed away at age 66.
Chip, Beauty and the Beast
Of all the objects in Beauty and the Beast, Chip broke our hearts the most. That's not only because his childhood was ripped away from him in a spectacularly unfair move by an insulted fairy, but also because he's so optimistic and happy, despite his circumstances. He and Mrs. Potts are the epitome of a family making the best of it, even though they know the rest of their clan is still human and stuck in a village just out of reach. Nathan Mack voices Chip in the 2017 remake, and he captures the essence of the original beautifully.
If seeing Dumbo stare up at you with his big, blue eyes, his head draped by oversize ears, didn't tug at your heartstrings, then nothing will. Director Tim Burton's film is weighed down a bit with the addition of a human subplot, but anytime you get tired of bipeds, this flying elephant in search of his mother will remind you what it is to feel.
It's worth noting that's very on purpose. The original Dumbo was conceived by Disney as a surefire hit with audiences after the box-office failure of 1940's Fantasia. What could be more certain to score a win than a bullied baby trying to find his mother? The live-action remake doubles down on that formula, and delivers an image you will want to eat up, paired with a heartrending story.
Directed by Tim Burton, Disney's Dumbo stars Colin Farrell, Michael Keaton, Danny DeVito, Eva Green, Alan Arkin, Finley Hobbins and Nico Parker. The film opens Friday nationwide.