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Review of "Pinocchio": A Faithful Reflection of the Animated Classic

Disney's New Live Action is a Visual Spectacle, Although it Fails to Provide a New Vision of the Traditional Story. This is our Review of "Pinocchio".

Frame from the movie 'Pinocchio'

Photo: YT-Disney Studios

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña de "Pinocho": Un fiel reflejo del clásico animado

Disney's live action movies began to be made in the mid-nineties, although it was from 2014 that the company chose to release at least one of these films a year. Now, in 2022, it was the turn of "Pinocchio", who for many is the most famous and charismatic character in the magical world of animation.

"The Adventures of Pinocchio" is a novel written by the Italian Carlo Collodi, whose plot inspired the Walt Disney studio to make an animated film in 1940. There, the story of a carpenter named Geppetto who carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio is told. Then, through the magic of a fairy, the puppet comes to life and tries to become a real boy.

For this adaptation in live action format, director Robert Zemeckis had the contribution of Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo and Luke Evans, in addition to other actors such as Joseph Gordon-Levitt who lent their voices for CGI characters. Its premiere came directly to the streaming platform on the occasion of Disney + Day.

An inclusive and fresh version, but with little heart

Disney live action has shown us that it is possible to bring any fictional character to life, which is possible thanks to CGI. Although the main character of this entire plot is Pinocchio, the one who gets most of the comments is Geppetto. The reason is due to the performance of Tom Hanks himself, whose work shifts between the good and the bad of the film.

Those who saw the animated story will remember the lonely carpenter as a capricious and relatively sane person, since in his eagerness he tried to bring a wooden doll to life. However , Hanks's Geppetto reaches certain levels of insanity during the first few minutes, in which he tries to dramatically sell his loneliness. That almost crazy performance is, in a way, a compliment to the actor; not so much for the script.

Also, the character of Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy leaves moments of brilliance. In fact, if we leave aside the opinions about her CGI or the issue of inclusion, the actress marks one of the most outstanding scenes of "Pinocchio" when she interprets "When You Wish Upon A Star", and with this enhances her dominant presence in screen. So far, each sequence is a faithful reflection of the cartoon in real action.

This "Pinocchio" by Zemeckis could work as a stand-alone piece, as he adds some subtleties in visuals and more adult humor. However, the director focused so much on rebuilding this magical world to make a tribute, that in the end the result seemed limited and rigid. In other words, it lacks ambition and a life of its own, despite its outstanding photography.

The most exciting and remembered moments of the animated classic are not seen as deep in this script. Inexplicably, the plot advances with a certain coldness and only with the need to show the spectacular visual work above the true message: the humility of simplicity. Even Pinocchio himself, whose large-scale replica has been one of Disney's best works, fails to leave that mark on the public.

At this point, it should be added that the path of live action that the company is traveling seems to have no end. With this there are 18 adaptations in total, waiting for more future projects to begin to be developed. Perhaps, for some, it is not justifiable to make these remakes, but Disney wants to continue betting on nostalgia and reaching new generations. Whatever it takes.

In short, "Pinocchio" may lack depth in its premise and not convey the same sentiments as its animated classic, but that would not be a reason to stop watching it. In fact, if you are one of those who still do not know its history, this film is a good option for its good production work. In the end, the magic will end up being put by you.