|Index||8 reviews in total|
Filmed in Rankin/Bass's incomparable stop-motion animation technique, "Animagic", this special ranks right up there with "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town". Tricked by a mean fox and dim-witted cat, Pinocchio loses the money he planned to use to buy Pappa Gepetto a Christmas present (which he obtained by selling the arithmetic book Gepetto bought him). This begins a series of very amusing adventures. The Pinocchio character is so cute in this show....he's very mischievous but very lovable. Character and set designs are among the best from R/B and a great soundtrack thats bursting from the seams with wonderful songs. Another colorful and warm special from R/B.
I'd say yes. Not just their most underrated, but I think also one of their better Christmas specials as well. The visuals are gorgeous to look at, the colours just pop out at you in a positive way, there is so much detail in the backgrounds and the characters are incredibly convincing. The music is also spot-on, the scoring is lusciously scored and whimsical and all the songs are upbeat and sweet-natured. The writing has its fair share of funny humour, poignant heart and compelling drama without over-balancing. The story is constantly engaging for anybody, simple but very heartwarming storytelling and never dull. There is also a good message that didn't feel heavy-handed at all. It is also very easy to like the characters, they have personality and they're charming. And I don't think Pinocchio has been any cuter than here. The voice work is terrific. Overall, Rankin/Bass' most underrated special and one of their better ones as well. 10/10 Bethany Cox
Pinocchio's Christmas (1980)
*** (out of 4)
Another winning Rankin/Bass animated film has Pinocchio selling a book that Geppetto bought for him so that he can take the money and buy his father a Christmas gift. Along the way he's cheated out of the money by Fox and Cat and soon Pinocchio finds himself in an all new adventure. I really wasn't aware of this film before running into it on television and I must say that this was one of the better Christmas animations that I've seen. I'm a little surprised that the film isn't better known and just looking around it appears that most people haven't heard of the film, which is a shame. As usual, the animation is a major plus as all of the characters look terrific and I really love how much detail they actually put into Pinocchio. The amount of detail they give the character almost looks so good that you forget that it's not some sort of computer generated effect. Another major plus is the actual story that manages to contain some laughs, drama and of course a message for the kids. I enjoyed several of the flashbacks including a wonderful sequence where we see Geppetto getting the wood and carving what would become Pinocchio. With the commercials this here runs an hour but the added running time certainly pays off and the material is so rich that you really could have turned this into a feature-length film and it still would have been entertaining.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It was to be Pinocchio's first Christmas. He was looking forward to it,
but not so much Geppetto, for he had to make out his Christmas list. He
hadn't any idea what to get anybody. It wouldn't make any difference
anyhow because he didn't have any money, so he pawned his shoes for a
few coppers which he used to buy Pinocchio an early gift: an arithmetic
book. Pinocchio wasn't all too thrilled with the book so he took it
back to the book merchant and got the money back. He was going to use
it to buy Geppetto a real nice gift when who should drop (litterly) in
but Fox and Cat, those conniving thieves who always spell trouble for
Pinocchio. The Fox informs him that they had just fallen from Heaven
where they had been told by angel for Pinocchio to plant his coins in
the ground, which would grow into a beautiful Christmas tree covered in
silver and gold coins. Pinocchio believed them and planted his coins.
But as soon as he left, Fox and Cat dug them up. When Pinocchio
returned, he was disappointed to see that his tree had not grown, and
his coins were missing. So to earn money for Geppetto's gift, he got a
job with a shady, flamboyant puppeteer, Maestro Fire-Eater. Pinocchio
performed under the name Sir Larry Olivetree. A marionette without
strings really drew a crowd. Pinocchio soon found himself attracted to
an inanimate marionette named Julietta.
Pinocchio was mortified to learn that Maestro planned to change Julietta's entire appearance and turn her into one of the three wise men. So, Pinocchio crept away, taking Julietta with him. They eluded the authorities and escaped into the Forest of Enchantment, which was deemed haunted. Once there, Pinocchio told the inanimate Julietta about how his life began: he used to be a tree in that forest, until one day he was cut down and sold to Old Mr. Cherry the carpenter, who became freaked out when he discovered his wood talking to him. So he gave the block of wood to his friend Geppetto who carved it into a marionette, who claimed its name was Pinocchio. Geppetto took Pinocchio in as his son. Back to the present day, Fox and Cat discover Pinocchio. He tells them he wished Julietta could be alive like he was. Fox tells him to head far north to find some medicine, Essence of Back-to-Life-Idine, that should do the trick. But then, the two were scared off by what appeared to be a ghost. It was actually Lady Ezora, the good fairy. She planted the seed from which Pinocchio originally grew. He tells her all that's happened to him, and all because he wanted to buy Geppetto a Christmas present. Lady Ezora tells him the best gifts come from the heart, so Pinocchio raced home. Lady Ezora sent along a cricket to be his conscience. Apparently the cricket used to be Pinocchio's conscience, but they never got along and so he walked. Or rather, hopped.
En route, Fox and Cat once again lead Pinocchio astray. They tell him to take the next sleigh to the North Pole and to seek Santa Claus. Unfortunately, Fox and Cat had made a deal with the sinister sleighdriver, who whisked Pinocchio not to the North Pole but rather to the Duke's mansion. The Duke had wanted a special toy to give to his children, and a talking, stringless marionette seemed to fit the bill. So Pinocchio was wrapped and placed under the tree. The Duke was a very busy man, but he set aside three whole minutes to spend with his children that night. His Lordship gets a real lesson in the joy of giving and agreed to spend a lot more than three minutes with his family. As for Pinocchio and cricket, how would they get home in time for Christmas? Santa Claus and his sleigh to the rescue! Pinocchio returns home to Geppetto, and soon Lady Ezora and Julietta, now all living, stop by! Pinocchio had truly learned an important lesson in generosity and love throughout this whole ordeal and he was to remember it during all the catastrophes he would endure throughout the course of his life and someday...Someday he might become a real boy. But until then, they would live one day at a time and had a very merry Christmas.
Pinocchio's Christmas, from Rankin/Bass. This was the first AniMagic cartoon special of the '80s. Rankin/Bass entertained the world with the many AniMagic Christmas specials made in the '60s and '70s, but by the '80s, they started to wind down. Mostly because I think they ran out of decent stories. Pinocchio's Christmas seemed a tad weak, as did the characters. Then in 1981 came The Leprechaun's Christmas Gold, which was also pretty weak and finally in 1985, the very last Rankin/Bass AniMagic Christmas special, The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus, came out. It contradicted every other Santa Claus story of theirs and was weak to say the least; For Pinocchio's Christmas, George S. Irving (Heat Miser) is Geppetto, Bob McFadden is the cricket, Allen Swift is Fox, Alan King is Maestro and Todd Porter is Pinocchio. Unfortunately Alan King passed away in 2004 and Bob McFadden passed away in 2000. Anyway, this Christmas, if you're looking for something nice to watch and you're a fan of Rudolph and Frosty and all those guys, then I recommend you check out Pinocchio's Christmas! The kids will love it. Knock on wood!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Delightful Rankin/Bass animated short incorporates wooden "boy", Pinocchio, made from wood in the "haunted" enchanted forest, and his "father"/maker, Papa Geppeto (voiced by George S Irving) into a splendid Christmas setting, with other memorable characters including the sly, conniving Fox (expertly voiced by Allen Swift who made a living doing voices for a variety of characters in the 70s) and his put-upon partner in crime, Feline (Patricia Bright), as well as, grumpy puppeteer Maestro Fire-Eater (hilariously essayed to us through the crackling roughly-hewn voice of Alan King) and Cricket (Bob McFadden; another master voice-over specialist). Fox and Feline trick Pinocchio into burying his little bit of change for a supposed huge payday (stealing it from him in the process when he's away), and Maestro Fire-Eater convinces Pinocchio to be the star marionette in his comic showcase for villagers for money he could use to help his poor father. But when Pinocchio is told by Maestro that girl puppet, Juliette, will be turned into an animal, he snatches her away and heads for the enchanted forest. Meanwhile Maestro tosses away a puppet he crafted in the form of Pinocchio, and Geppeto believes his son is no more once he finds him abandoned on a cold street sidewalk. Pinocchio is then manipulated by Fox and Feline to join a cohort of theirs (believing it is a trip to the North Pole), learning he is to be a "toy" for a wealthy man's children. Being a living toy is a novelty, but Pinocchio tries to talk sense into the father who seems perfectly fine with taking him from his home and leaving his children on a business trip. This Christmas special even has Pinocchio getting a ride with Santa in his sleigh, led by his reindeer, back home, and we are introduced to the fairy that gave him life in the Enchanted Forest and could very well bring to life, Juliette, the girl puppet he rescued from being turned into another character by Maestro. With some excellent animation, and a clever means for including a storybook classic literary and Disney character into the Christmas season, "Pinocchio's Christmas" is a real treat that I think will surprise fans of Rankin/Bass. This is a real find if you come across it in a Christmas Classics set. Prepare to be surprised. Some really good voice-over work only adds to the value of this fun gem. This is framed as a series of adventures and lessons for Pinocchio (who misbehaves, a lot instigated by Fox and Feline who are always up to something to benefit themselves)during Christmastime and that framework keeps it from ever getting boring. Kids (and adults who grew up during this time) should really love it.
Nope, it's not Disney or anything related to it. This is pure Rankin/Bass. This is one of their least talked-about specials. The story is about Pinocchio's first Christmas and how he basically screws up right and left. It's not one of the better Rankin/Bass Christmas specials, to be honest. I mean the story isn't that interesting to me. I didn't care that much for the characters and the voices, while adequate, didn't win me over. However, it does have some nice songs and the visuals are beautiful. The animation, the colors, the miniature sets are all gorgeous. Such detail. Amazing really. Anyway, it's somewhere in the middle of the pack as far as my ranking of the Rankin/Bass specials would go. But any Rankin/Bass is better than none and this certainly has enough going for it to recommend it.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's Pinocchio's first Christmas, and it promises to be one he nor
anybody else will soon forget. It all began one snowy afternoon, while
wood carver Geppetto told his little wooden boy about Christmas, they
were spied on by those two dastardly criminals, The Fox and The Cat.
They've hatched an evil scheme to kidnap Pinocchio and sell him as a
toy to the highest bidder. So Geppetto sends Pinocchio off to school,
while he tries to ponder what gifts he should buy for the people on his
list. It doesn't make a difference since he doesn't have any money
anyway. He only manages to get a few coins when he pawns his boots, and
he uses that money to buy Pinocchio his first Christmas gift: a math
book. The little wooden boy with a heart of gold returns the book
behind Geppetto's back and gets $5.00 for it, which he will use to buy
his father a gift. Suddenly, those weasels Fox and Cat literally drop
in. They convince Pinocchio to plant his gold coins in the snow, and
that a money tree will grow. So Pinocchio buys this and buries the
dough, and then goes on a song and dance about how he'll be rich and
famous. Local entertainer Maestro Fire Eater is aghast at seeing a
walking, talking (and singing) marionette dancing in the streets and
tries to sign him up for his show, promising fame and fortune.
Pinocchio declines, saying he's already got wealth. Unfortunately, Fox
and Cat have already dug up the coins he planted, so with no other
alternative, Pinocchio takes Fire Eater up on his offer and joins his
show. Meanwhile, Geppetto searches the town for his lost wooden boy. He
sees an ad for Fire Eater's show with Pinocchio's picture on it, but
when he's listed as Sir Larry Olivetree, Geppetto assumes it's some
OTHER living marionette. Idiot.
The show is a hit, and Pinocchio befriends a non-living marionette named Julietta. Unfortunately, Fire Eater plans to change her appearance for the Christmas pageant, so to save his new friend, Pinocchio takes off with her. They evade police by hiding in the Forest of Enchantment, which is said to be haunted. Once they're safe, Pinocchio tells her of how he came to be: once a log right in that very forest. He got passed around by several woodcutters and ended up in the shop of old Geppetto, who nearly has a heart attack when the piece of wood talks to him. He carves him into a marionette and the rest is history. Meanwhile, Fox and Cat strike a deal with a sleigh driver whose client would pay big bucks to put Pinocchio under his tree, and when they overhear that he's lost in the Forest of Enchantment, they shoot down there to find him. Fox tells him he can bring Julietta to life by sending Pinocchio on a quest to find a magical formula, and tells him to board a sleigh. The little twerp believes him, again, but thankfully Lady Azora, Pinocchio's biological mother, shows up to set things right. Naturally he tries to lie about the situation, but fesses up when his nose grows across the room. Azora hears of his plight and suggests giving Geppetto a heartfelt gift as opposed to a store-bought one. Just as Pinocchio heads home, he runs into Fox and Cat again, and again, they try to get him to go on some wild goose chase. This time to the North Pole to teach the other toys how to dance. Having learned NOTHING from this experience, Pinocchio believes them and gets on the sleigh. The wicked driver takes him to the Duke's house as a Christmas present for his two children. And is the Duke ever Father of the Year material: he's always away from home, but graciously allows 3 minutes to spend with his children on Christmas Eve. So the kids open their present (Pinocchio) as their father the Duke watches, impatiently. They're not too thrilled with it and the Duke starts to head off, just as Pinocchio shames him for his actions and tells him it's not what a present costs that matters, it's the love! The Duke is touched, and upgrades his three minutes' visitation to an entire day. He's a good man after all. So Pinocchio and the cricket, having made amends, catch a ride home from Santa Claus, and really give Geppetto a Christmas Day surprise! Joining them for breakfast is Lady Azora and her coach-dogs. Pinocchio asks her if he'll be good from hereon out, and since she can see into the future, she tells him about other misadventures he'll have in the sequels that will never happen. But they'll jump that bridge when they come to it. For now, it's Christmas!
To find out more about Pinocchio, watch the Disney movie. Oh, and I think there was a book about him too. As far as Rankin-Bass Christmas specials go, this one was pretty good. Not as good as some of their others, it lacks in a few places, namely the villains. Fox and Cat came across as very shallow villains, though I will give them credit for making the idiot sidekick a female, probably broke new ground. The cat kind of reminded me of Harley Quinn. Maybe it was the "Joisey" accent. Fire Eater wasn't much of a villain either, but lack of heavy villains aside, the message is really good. I liked the scene at the Duke's house. He comes off as a stuffy bureaucratic jerk who won't make time for his kids, until Pinocchio manages to dig beneath the surface and show him that his kids love him, and he loves them. The songs are good too, and darn catchy! You'll be humming "Knock on Wood" and "Dancin'" for hours after watching this.
A clay- animation film where Pinocchio tries to earn enough money for a Christmas present. And ends up teaching the spirit of Christmas. A good clay animation movie for children with up beat songs. Only objectionable part might be the lack of any mention of religion reasons for Christmas. On a personal note, at the end of the movie there was some fore-shadowing of Pinocchio's future adventures. Just curious if there was a other clay-animation about Pinoccio made?
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