Over the past 12 years, Disney has been quite active in working on live action films adapted from their classic animated films. After releasing the live action film Cruella (2021) based on the animated film One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961), Disney has just released the live action film Pinocchio based on the animated film released in 1940.
The live action film Pinocchio was directed by Robert Zemeckis, a figure who has produced many iconic films, including the Back to the Future film series, Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), and other films. Interestingly, Pinocchio stars one of Hollywood’s best actors, namely Tom Hanks, who plays Geppetto or Pinocchio’s father.
Pinocchio tells the story of Geppetto, a carpenter, who makes a wooden doll, named Pinocchio, which is made to resemble his dead son. One night, Geppetto made a wish to the star that he wanted a boy. Geppetto’s request is granted by the Blue Fairy by bewitching Pinocchio to life.
Pinocchio movie review
Show story modifications where not all the changes are right on target
In general, the live action version of Pinocchio’s story is actually quite similar to the animation. Starting from Geppetto who longs for a boy, Pinocchio’s journey to become a human child, to how Pinocchio saves Geppetto from a giant sea monster named Monstro. In essence, the important moments in the animated film Pinocchio are brought back to the live action version.
But like most of the previous Disney adaptations of live action films, of course there are modifications to Pinocchio’s storyline. There are several modifications to the story that are quite successful, especially in the scene of how Pinocchio and Geppetto can be inside Monstro’s stomach, as well as a different ending from the animated film. Unfortunately, more modifications to the story actually spoil the charm of the original film.
One of the most unfortunate things is the lack of Blue Fairy appearances in the live action version. Blue Fairy only appears once when she revives Pinocchio and assigns Jiminy Cricket as Pinocchio’s conscience. There is absolutely no scene that shows the Blue Fairy teaching Pinocchio about lies. Surprisingly, Jiminy knew right away that Pinocchio was lying when the wooden doll’s nose grew.
In addition to featuring a modified story, the live action version of Pinocchio also features several new characters that are not in the animated version. There is one new character, named Fabiana, who actually has great potential. Unfortunately, Fabiana’s presence is not put to good use, so she doesn’t have a big impact on the storyline. So, why add new characters that are not put to good use in the end?
Inconsistent visual effect quality
Even though it has live action, the use of CGI clearly looks so dominant in the application of visual effects in Pinocchio. If we look back at the animated film, it’s not surprising, really, that the live action version definitely requires CGI to be able to bring some important moments in the film to life. Unfortunately, the CGI quality displayed throughout the Pinocchio film looks inconsistent.
From the beginning to the end of the film, the CGI quality shown still looks quite good. However, at the end of the film when Pinocchio catches up with Geppetto who is sailing, the CGI quality starts to look worse. The sky and sea backdrop behind Geppetto looks so fake.
The quality of CGI is even worse when Pinocchio and Geppetto try to escape from the pursuit of Monstro, after they manage to get out of the monster’s stomach. The big waves produced by Monstro look so fake and the quality is like a fantasy film released in the 1990s and early 2000s. The inconsistent quality of visual effects may be the reason why this film is not shown in theaters.
Changing ending that feels more touching
As mentioned in the first point, the live action version of Pinocchio features a modified story. One of the big changes that this film shows is the ending that is very different from the animated film. In the animated version, Pinocchio was thought to be dead after escaping from Monstro. However, in the live action version, it was Geppetto who was thought to have died after escaping from Monstro.
Those of you who have watched the animated film Pinocchio certainly know that the wooden doll finally transforms into a human child at the end of the film. But in the live action version, the audience is asked to make their own interpretation, whether Pinocchio remains a wooden doll or turns into a human child like the animated film.
Although Pinocchio’s fate as a human child is made hanging, the ending of the live action version looks even more touching than the animation. You see, the ending of the live action version gives a deep message about accepting each other and feels more relevant for today’s conditions. Although many things are unsatisfactory, this film is arbitrarily closed with touching things.
Pinocchio adds to the list of unsatisfactory Disney animated adaptations of live action films. Actually, there’s nothing wrong with changing the story, unfortunately this live action version even eliminates some important scenes in the animated version. The presence of Tom Hanks did not even really help lift this film.
After reading the Pinocchio film review, are you interested in watching this film?