Pinocchio: Another uninspired Disney remake


Isabella Mayifuila

When Disney’s classic animated film Pinocchio was first released in 1940, it was a financial flop. It wasn’t until it’s second release that it became a smash hit, making $164 million at the box office. The film was released in Disney’s “Bronze Age,” during which Walt Disney supervised all of the movies made by his studio.

Too bad he wasn’t around to supervise the live-action remake recently released on Disney+.

Disney has produced a multitude of remakes in recent years, with mixed results. Some have been loved by both critics and fans (see 2016’s The Jungle Book) while others were loved by almost no one (see 2016’s Alice Through the Looking Glass). You can place this one in the second category, but it’s confusing because it had so much going for it. Pinocchio was directed by Robert Zemeckis, who was responsible for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the Back to the Future movies and Forrest Gump. He also had Tom Hanks starring as Geppetto, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the voice of Jiminy Cricket and Keegan-Michael Key as “Honest” John. sadly, no amount of talent could make up for a confusing story mucked up by unnecessary changes to the original story. Sure, the CGI animation is great, but at times it was too good and overshadowed the story.

For example, in the original movie, the cat was cute and expressive. In the update, it look like it’s struggling to move its face. Meanwhile, Pinocchio seems out of place in the movie. His original cartoonish look was maintained while the other CGI characters (like Honest John and Giddy) were made to look realistic. At other times, the CGI seems to malfunction. When Geppetto is holding Pinocchio it becomes very obvious that he’s not holding anything because Pinocchio is sort of sliding around in his hands. The same thing happens with his cat.

This movie completely messed up Pinocchio’s character development. From the beginning, it’s clear that Pinocchio already knows the difference between right and wrong. This is a major change from the original, where he doesn’t understand things, which is why Jiminy Cricket is there to help him. Here, it’s almost like he didn’t need Jiminy Cricket as his conscience in the first place. Most of the bad things that happen to him are out of his control while in the original, bad things happened because his of ignorance.

In the original, Pinocchio seems sweet and innocent. His big problems start because as he’s on the way to school, he falls for Honest John’s lie that he can become a famous actor. In this remake, Pinocchio is less innocent and more of a dupe who just does what he is told. He actually does make it to school but is kicked out for being a puppet. This makes him into a victim who has no choice but to do something else. And when he tells lies later in the film, it’s seen as a good thing because his lies give him the chance to reach keys that will help him escape.

There were so many unneeded changes that it’s impossible to list all of them. The end result is a remake that was unexciting and unnecessary. Yes, it was visually appealing, especially the update of Pleasure Island. But this dull and uninspiring update was not worth the hour and 45 minutes it took to watch it. Save yourself some time and aggravation and watch the animated original.