By: Amanda Guarragi
The Disney live-action remakes have been a hit or a miss and it’s because some don’t recapture the magic. Animated films have no bounds and many things can be experimented with when it comes to the design of characters and storytelling. Pinocchio is a story that has always been dark and a bit bleak for young children to watch. It only had two memorable songs, including the stunning “When You Wish Upon A Star”, but it’s not objectively a Disney favourite. Sure, it’s a classic, but it doesn’t have the same rewatch factor as the other films in the vault. Many other filmmakers revamped the story multiple times but never remade by Disney.
This 2022 version of Pinocchio is updated and there is even a new character named Fabiana (Kyanne Lamaya) who tries to help Pinocchio. With the story being very linear with three specific obstacles Pinocchio has to overcome, the film feels like it is just hitting the marks it needs to get by. There’s no emotional connection between Pinocchio and Geppetto (Tom Hanks) at all. The performances felt a bit empty and it’s because the magic that comes with the animated version wasn’t there. The movie felt very off and it’s hard to even put a finger on why it felt that way. There seemed to be a disconnect between the timeless story and the film’s production as a whole.
The downfall of Pinocchio is the VFX work. Each animated character looked unfinished and the movements were not as fluid as they should have been. The cinematic level of Disney films has changed because of the quality on Disney Plus and it’s not working. There’s a disconnect between the artists, the original animated film, and the actual characters that it looks incomplete. The Pleasure Island sequence is probably the best part of the movie because everything looked grand. It’s also the one time Pinocchio showed some emotions that were visible on his face. His story is all about learning how to trust others around him and understanding right from wrong. Towards the end of the movie that’s when we get a bit more depth.
Pinocchio is a Disney live-action remake that feels the most disconnected from the original animated feature in 1938. It didn’t feel like the characters were living in this world at all with Geppetto and it comes down to the special effects not looking believable. There are also adult jokes by Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) that don’t land and it may be because of the accent that was used. Director Robert Zemeckis goes through the motions in retelling a Disney classic and unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything new to uplift the original animated feature. His story always had great messaging for children and there were many lessons to be learned but it all gets lost in a by-the-numbers retelling of the story.