After the not very successful box office of the film adaptation of another animated classic – “Dumbo”, as well as the impossibility of a full rental due to covid, the Disney studio decided to premiere the new version of “Pinocchio” on its own streaming service. The original 1940 cartoon, Disney’s second after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is based on Italian author Carlo Collodi’s best-known story, The Adventures of Pinocchio.
That cartoon has long since become a dusty Disney classic, so Robert Zemeckis undertook to modernize this story. In the review below, we will tell you whether the director managed to create a small miracle and at least get a little closer to the level of the celebrated predecessor.
“Pinocchio” / Pinocchio
Genre adventure fantasy, musical
Directed by Robert Zemeckis
Starring Tom Hanks, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Cynthia Erivo, Luke Evans
Premiere of Disney+
Release year 2022
A lonely but cheerful carpenter named Geppetto lives with the cat Figaro and the aquarium goldfish Cleo. Once, Jiminy, a chatterbox cricket, visits them as an uninvited guest, who witnesses a real miracle. Right before his eyes, Geppetto before going to sleep makes a wish that the marionette doll he made come to life, and soon a strange fairy appears in the house, fulfilling the old man’s wish. This is how Pinocchio is born – a living wooden doll, which is waiting for many bright, but at the same time dangerous adventures.
As in the case of the resuscitation of the story of the circus baby elephant with unusually large ears, it is clear that the classic cartoon “Pinocchio” did not need any reinterpretation or transformation into the format of the film itself. But the state of affairs in modern cinema leads to the unfounded and unsubstantiated appearance of such remakes, film adaptations and other representatives of copycat production.
Of course, Pinocchio of the 2022 model, like the original, has significant differences from Collodi’s work. But compared to the cartoon, they are too small, mostly cosmetic (like, for example, the episode when the main character’s legs start to burn, and this is a clear reference to the original literary source).
The plot basis here is absolutely identical to the 82-year-old tape, and some jokes are played with frightening similarities. At the same time, the local cricket looks suspiciously like a ninja turtle in a top hat, and the fairy clearly came from politically correct modernity, despite the fact that the action takes place in the conventional distant past. The clocks on the wall in Geppetto also look interesting, because as soon as they get a close-up, cult characters fly out of them every time: toys of Maleficent, Snow White, Jessica Rabbit, the aforementioned Dumbo, etc. appear in the frame.
The candidacy of Zemeckis as a director seems to be quite adequate for the material: after all, he is already an experienced Hollywood storyteller, who in the past, either in animated films or in ordinary ones (let’s not forget about the revolutionary animation and game “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”) has already turned to the prose of Dickens, Chris Van Allsburg, and more recently Roald Dahl, with varying degrees of success, when he adapted The Witch.
The participation of Tom Hanks in the role of the carpenter Geppetto looks like an undeniable talent of this idea; the actor, by the way, is already playing in the fourth Zemekisov tape! Here he returns to his more typical good guy role after his villainous performance in Elvis. But despite the studio’s serious approach and responsible attitude to this project, it is obvious that it is doomed to be compared with the original, recognized by the audience, and is unlikely to score any points in a face-to-face battle with it.
The problem is that in the format of a feature film, even such a fairy-tale-fantasy one, the artificiality of sea scenes does not work very well together. In them, the pavilion filming is too noticeable, and the attempt to evoke a sincere audience response a little later with the help of a sentimental ending. There is a feeling of deception, as if they are trying to deceive you, so another excellent performance by Tom Hanks and as if not a bad expensive graphics are not able to hide this kind of studio parasitism on its own heritage.
Although it is by no means possible to categorically state with certainty that the new “Pinocchio” is something completely unnecessary to this world: after all, it is able to interest young viewers to some extent, and allow older ones to remember the wonderful times when the fairy tale was really a fairy tale , also tried to teach some science.
This film also prefers to move in a similar direction, and that’s a good thing. In addition, it has several standard singing numbers that do not spoil the picture as a whole, and new heroes who also perform some primitive function. But it is difficult to get rid of the obsessive thought about the dubiousness of the whole idea, when the film adaptation of the cartoon features not a real, but a computer-drawn domestic cat.
Pros: good reincarnation performed by Tom Hanks, good special effects Cons: obvious secondary material, new characters that give almost nothing to the story, fresh narration Conclusion:
“Pinocchio” does its best to seem like a beautiful, effective and colorful fairy tale, really interesting to its audience, but these efforts are not enough to claim anything more than tomorrow’s oblivion