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PINOCCHIO (2022 film) movie review

ByTaylor T Carlson

Oct 12, 2022

PINOCCHIO is directed by Robert Zemeckis. The film is a live-action/CG hybrid remake of Disney’s animated 1940 film, itself an adaptation of a story by Carlo Collodi. The film stars Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo, Giuseppe Battiston, Luke Evans, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key, and Lorraine Bracco. The film was released direct to Disney+.

Geppetto is a lonely man following the death of his wife and son. Missing the days of his having a family, the lonely woodcutter and clockmaker builds Pinocchio to keep him company. A visit from the Blue Fairy brings the puppet to life, but only by proving himself and being upright and honest can he become a real boy, with the destitute Jiminy Cricket appointed his conscience. When Pinocchio disappears following what was to be his first day of school, running into a wide assortment of characters, good and bad alike, it’s up to Geppetto to set out to find and rescue his son.

PINOCCHIO has long been one of Walt Disney Pictures’ most revered and beloved animated films; it’s easily the most famous version of Carlo Collodi’s story. So, it stands to reason that it would eventually be one of the many Disney properties to get the live action treatment. This ongoing trend has been a hit-and-miss one, with the new versions seldom improving upon or surpassing their pre-existing animated counterparts. Sadly, PINOCCHIO adds little new to the mix, making fans wonder why they shouldn’t just go watch the 1940 animated film instead.

I’ll give the movie credit for a few aspects, however. The casting, both in terms of live-action actors and voice overs, is well chosen and everyone suits their role well. Tom Hanks as Geppetto is the standout actor of the bunch, giving this character the emotional gravity and depth needed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt shines as Jiminy Cricket, quite entertaining in this part and handling each scene he’s given well, serving as both a voice of reason and comic relief.

Also worth mentioning is that the production is beautifully made. The sets (I assume these are a hybrid of CG and live action ) look spectacular. From Pinocchio’s village to Pleasure Island and the literal belly of a whale, the one thing about PINOCCHIO no one can argue with is it’s a fine-looking film. The movie may have gone straight to Disney+, but it’s clear the House of Mouse didn’t skimp on the budget.

Unfortunately, PINOCCHIO suffers from the same problems as nearly every other live-action remake. The biggest problem is it’s noticeably inferior to its animated counterpart, and what few new ideas it presents don’t amount to much. It lags in the pacing department; our titular wooden boy doesn’t even set foot outside Geppetto’s front door until nearly 30 minutes of movie have elapsed!

You also can’t help but feel like Disney is going through the motion, checking off the boxes of representation. I’m all in favor of inclusion when it comes to films, but with each new movie Disney puts out, they’re simply trying too hard to check these boxes. The cast includes an ethnic girl with an injured leg (who the film largely forgets about in its conclusion). The Blue Fairy is now played by a black woman, which I honestly have no problem with, but did they have to make her bald too? Speaking of the Blue Fairy, her role is significantly lessened from the original Disney film; this is a hit-and-miss experience because Cynthia Ervio doesn’t get a chance to do her thing, though it does let Gordon-Levitt get a few more decent sequences at Jiminy Cricket.

The remake of PINOCCHIO is a wasted opportunity because it fails to correct the biggest problem with the original film – villains get away unpunished for their misdeeds, quite possibly the only Disney movie where this is the case. While one villain’s story is updated to give him something of a comeuppance (albeit in a rather rushed and haphazard fashion), the others still get away with their crimes. If you’re going to do this, why stop there? I expected more with Robert Zemeckis (BACK TO THE FUTURE, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?, FORREST GUMP) in the director’s chair.

PINOCCHIO looks beautiful and it’s excellently cast. But it’s another exercise in lackluster pacing and no original ideas that gel. If you’ve got Disney+, it’s a decent watch, but it’s unlikely you’ll want to revisit it, particularly considering Disney+ also has the superior original 1940 animated movie.

By Taylor T Carlson

Taylor T Carlson Assistant Editor/Senior Staff Writer Taylor T. Carlson was born August 17, 1984, and has called the Vegas Valley home his entire life. A die-hard fan of classic rock and metal music, Taylor has been writing album and concert reviews since he was 16 years old, and continues to do so, having done well over 1,000 reviews. He is also a fan of video gaming and cinema, and has reviewed a number of games and films as well, old and new alike. His thorough and honest (some would say brutally honest) reviewing style has won him the respect of hundreds of music fans and musicians alike, both local and abroad, and the ire of just as many others. Despite being one of the youngest attendees at classic hard rock/metal shows around Vegas, he is also one of the most knowledgeable, having gained the unofficial nickname of “The Eddie Trunk of Las Vegas.” In addition to reviews, Taylor has written and self-published three books on classic hard rock bands, and is a regular participant in rock and roll trivia contests. Taylor also holds a masters degree in special education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV), and has appeared on the hit History Channel television series Pawn Stars. His dream is to be able to one day make a living from writing music books and reviews.

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