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While Pincchio's creator-'daddy' Gepetto is ill in bed, the rascal and mate visit the circus. There cross-dressing freak-show boss Lorenzini 'Madame Flambeau' ends up selling them an elixir as 'cure', which actually enables him to recruit the debtors as his freak acts. Written by
While it doesn't hold a candle to the 1940 Disney film, which nearly 80 years later is one of their greatest triumphs and one of the best animated films of all time.
'The Adventures of Pinocchio', dating from 1996, had its flaws, but was decent and a nice alternative to the Disney film. This sequel, 'The New Adventures of Pinocchio' from 1999, is mediocre at best and even often quite weak.
It does have some good things. Gabriel Thomson is a likable and earnest Pinocchio and Udo Kier steals the film as an over-the-top, sometimes weird but incredibly fun Madame Flambeau. Rachel Portman is missed, her score was beautiful, more dynamic and poignant but the music in 'The New Adventures of Pinocchio' is serviceable enough. Warwick Davis does a decent job as Pepe.
However, Martin Landau's Geopetto is almost completely sidelined and Landau, who was superb in 'The Adventures of Pinocchio and has given great performance, phones it in here. And while Kier is fun as Madame Flambeau his Lorenzini (a villain that could have been much more interesting) is just not sinister enough.
What particularly hurts the film are the visuals and the story. 'The New Adventures of Pinocchio' looks rather cheap, the photography isn't as lavish, editing is sloppy and the sets and costumes do look like shoestring budget material, but it's the puppetry and special effects that are particularly subpar at best and often extremely poor and too obvious. Pepe is very mechanical in movement and design, the sea donkey is especially cheaply weak, Kier's sea monster make up couldn't have been more bizarre and the scene with the talking fish should have been left on the cutting/editing room floor.
The story tries to put twists on some of the events of 'The Adventures of Pinocchio, but just feels like a dull, soulless and charmless retread with role reversals. Pacing is dull, the dialogue couldn't have been more cheesy or bland and the direction often is inept, especially in the talking fish/cart ride scene.
Overall, weak sequel though not without its moments. 4/10 Bethany Cox
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