The Voice Acting/Acting: For many of the cast, the voice acting was very welcome for me in the characters they portrayed, alongside the acting as well. Ainsworth as the puppet was very good, capturing the joy and innocence of the aspiring boy and really selling it for the whole film. This Pinocchio may be more innocent and perfect, but the whole time I felt we were back in the kind puppet we are looking to have. Hanks, well you hear on later, so let's go to Levitt. The master actor did a great job as the cricket, finding the traditional personage for the character and adding his little style to the mix without breaking the bug. He was great in this role and I feel he was perfect for the part and my favorite actor. The rest of the group did fine, with a shout out to Keegan-Michael Key for a very entertaining and robust Honest Jon portrayal, though I would have liked to see more.
Some of the New Angles: Like many things in the modern era, Disney+ had to take new twists and directions to make a timeless classic fresh and new. Some of these things were just fine, like adding a puppeteer character to the first act of trouble, who was very sweet and a nice plot point they introduced. Another was helping elevate the performance of the puppet show and giving it a little more fun and pizazz. Even adding a few connecting scenes and a few little nods to the political moments I could appreciate when they naturally integrated were fine additions. This movie tried to connect a lot of the vague background pieces in the long run, helping to smooth out the jumps from scene to scene.
Kept Somewhat to Story: And though the movie did take some nuances to be its own thing, it still kept to the storyline pretty well. Fans of the old school should have the timeline that guides you through his journey and appreciate Zemeckis honoring the timeless tale for about 70-75% of the story. At least in terms of the historical context of Pinocchio, the movie honors by putting in a scene from the movie from every major point. So, at least there is a general context and not completely putting the tale in the blender for no apparent reason.
The Setting Is Very Nice: Disney's budget and imagineer team really get props for the designing of the world for this film. The town is adorable, really feeling like the Italian fairy tale villa where crooked streets and cramped spaces form a quaint maze. They made the setting feel very old timey, and that helps with the atmosphere of the movie. I also loved the stage they performed the show on, very reminiscent of the classic setting from the cartoon, but again, nicely optimized to real life to have fun and feel like the classic art of the puppeteering, including a nice backstage that felt very technical of the stage that entertained so many. Of course, the theme park of madness on Pleasure Island succeeded in so many endeavors for bringing the land to life. All the kids had a spectacle to play in, and we got more details and some creativity, alongside puns and imagery, that really brings the nightmare of the lawless land to life in all its glory and fear. These moments may have been the best involvement in the changes and the use of the budget outside of one other thing you'll see below.
The Look Of The Characters: Disney has been on a kick of making everyone look realistic in order to I guess accomplish the new direction. This often gets rid of the magic of the Disney cartoons and takes away the fun and energy of the classics. For this film though, that wasn't the case. While the realism is a bit robbed in the grand scheme of things, the cartoony hybridization on this movie worked for me to keep to the spirit of the character. Jiminy hops and skips like a cricket, but then adds the human qualities to be the clumsy and spastic conscience you love to see. Cleo swims beautifully, but still has the emotional portrayal of the little flirt she often acts as. And as for Figaro, this little guy was my favorite with Pinocchio as they scampered, moved, and reenacted the famous moments from the movies to a level that really felt like the source material. While there are times this failed, never seen root beer disappear so quickly, or got a little too cartoony/fake, overall, it still kept the feel of Disney toon well for me.
The Songs Kind Of Sucked And Not Needed: Disney are the masters of making songs for people to listen to one thousand times over, leading to annoying moments of tearing your hair out. As such, this was not a win for me, and most of the songs were kind of not needed for me, feeling smushed into the moment as if checking a box for one type of fan. These covers were kind lame and short sighted, many auto tuned to cringe worthy levels that might have been fun and funny, but they just weren't needed. I would have liked either more time to make this work, or just not included and put the money somewhere else.
The Limitations of Many Characters: Oh dear lord the characters were limited and felt very scarce at times. This Pinocchio, like most, focused on the cricket and the puppet primarily, as expected, which wasn't horrible. However, the movie tried to put so many new characters and spins on it, that I had hoped for more of their inclusion and incorporation to maximize the relationships. Almost everyone does get a finale, but it feels very bland and so many promising moments are very lackluster in the grand scheme of things that it again lacks the fire of the original. Even the cat and the fish don't feel used as well, even though I'm sure they had the same screen time. I can't say much more without ruining stuff, but I just really feel it was missing that full connection.
A Bit Boring And Kiddy: No surprise here, modern age have managed to blunt the emotional and darker moments the cartoon did much more. I won't say it's devoid of all themes that were creepy and hard to watch. But I also can't say that these moments had the full on punch they might have been going for, and instead let Pinocchio's innocence bleed over to the scene and lighten it up. While I'm glad they did not go fully dark to induce nightmares, again, there was something needed to spice up things for parents who would be watching this with their kids.
The Pace Of Everything Being So Fast: Much of what the film seemed to struggle with for me was the pacing. I'll have to rewatch the original, but it felt more complete in regards to the journey and keeping things running smoothly. This one tried to add these new touches and respect the material, but it didn't maximize things to the level I felt it could of and sort of breezed through things very quickly. All the set up and world building was over in an instant, and it was frustrating to see such hasty tie offs and conclusions that again don't have the full push that I thought it would. It seems like it was trying to do too much again in a short amount of time and again needed more time to handle the changes better.
Tom Hanks: Above all, Tom Hanks was kind of a waste for me in Pinocchio. The legendary actor knows how to take roles and make it work, but Geppetto was not the strongest role for me to utilize his talents. Who decided to do the sound editing or make him mumble was stupid in how low it came off, and make him sound depressed. Sure, the acting conveyed the sadness, but then he goes into sounding like a boob with forced lines and a song that does not work. Some scenes he does well and accomplishes much, but other scenes are a bit cheesy and eccentric and not in the way that makes sense. It's not that I hated him at all, but I feel Hanks name was a tag to pull people into, rather than actually utilizing him to the full degree.
Pinocchio is a mixed quality movie for this reviewer, finding a lot of confusion and less clarity than they seemed to go for. On the plus side, the movie is charming, fun, cute, and captured the cartoon energy well in look and feel with the design of the movie. The visuals are not the most realistic, but it worked for me, a meeting of Disney energy and real world that did okay acknowledging both worlds. Some of the changes worked well for me, and I did enjoy the acting for many in this movie, I really did. Yet, the movie is very flustered in finding the directions that it wanted to bring and struggled to blend old and new in consistent quality. Many characters are not optimized, the transitions are there, but feel clunky and forced at times, alongside the edge factor being lost to a blunted kid factor. Overall, I did not hate the movie, but I also cant' say it's a masterpiece like some might say, with the new wave of kids being the optimum audience for this movie. My scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.5.
27 out of 62 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.