Pinocchio joins the litany of live-action remakes from Disney. This time Robert Zemeckis is tapped to direct. It was released on the Disney Plus platform.
A down-on-his-luck cricket named Jiminy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) makes his way to a shop where he observes a kind woodcarver named Geppetto (Tom Hanks) make a lifelike marionette named Pinocchio. After wishing on a star that the puppet would come to life, the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) brings the toy to life and proclaims him Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) with Jiminy as his “temporary” conscience. She tells him he has to do three tasks to become a real boy. When Geppetto finds him alive, the two share a dance together. The next day, Pinocchio heads off to school but finds many distractions including a sleazy Fox (Keegan-Michael Key), an abusive puppeteer named Stromboli (Giuseppe Battiston), and a charismatic Coachman (Luke Evans). Separated from Geppetto, Pinocchio must rely on conscience and new friends like Fabiana (Kyanne Lamaya) and a seagull named Sofia (Lorraine Bracco) to get home.
Disney seems to have two speeds these days: woke or bland. Sometimes they are combined. This film is another bland remake in their catalogue of live-action rebrands. It does not even have a proper ending, which I think a sequel announcement is not far off.
I do not know if Zemeckis fell asleep at the wheel, if the movie got cut up in the editing bay, or if he was stifled throughout the process, but I expected more from the director of Back To The Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? It’s easy to blame the corporate overlords in a lot of these cases, but Zemeckis clearly has some blame since he co-wrote the screenplay.
As for the cast, everyone just kind of phones it in. Nobody delivered on any level, not even Tom Hanks. He just kind of existed in the film along with everyone else. The one exception is Kyanne Lamaya, who definitely tried her best, but had little to work with in the way of a plot.
The worst offense is that the movie removed all of the moral weight from the story. Sure, it casually touches on morality, but instead of being an integral part of Pinocchio’s journey, they are inconveniences for him to overcome.
The Adventures Of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the 1883 novel on which it is based, was a moral and cautionary tale. Many of the trials that the living marionette face have permanent consequences that shape him as a person. The 1940 animated film, produced by Walt Disney himself, maintained that story. As such, each villain Pinocchio faces gets more and more frightening until he faces off against a literal sea monster.
Not so here. The Coachman, who was voiced brilliantly in 1940 by the late-great Charles Judels, was one of the most frightening “unofficial” villains of the Disney canon. Here Luke Evans portrays him in a cartoonish (yes, I’m aware of the irony) way. He is not scary or frightening and the sequence of Pleasure Island was the most boring part of this live-action rebrand.
Bottom line, Pinocchio does not even appear to be a film. It is just another product off the current Disney regime’s endless line of brands.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Brief foul language, Action violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: This cricket is your conscience?
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my reviews of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero and Ain’t We Got Fun. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.