Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the timeless tale of the wooden puppet who dreams of being a real boy is brought to life (pun intended) in the live-action/CGI adaptation of the Disney classic, Pinocchio.
I was fortunate enough to attend an early screening of the Disney+ original and although this is not my favorite, there are definitely moments and choices I appreciate.
What I enjoy most about a majority of Disney’s live action adaptations is their willingness to add more depth to their characters, thus enhancing the storytelling. Pinocchio does this almost immediately, building out the character of Gepetto and providing more of his backstory. There’s more of an understanding for WHY Pinocchio is so important to Geppetto.
Geppetto is played by Academy Award winner, Tom Hanks. Although his presence is warm and inviting as the iconic father figure, Hanks continues to make 2022 the year of weird accents. This distracts from his overall performance and adding in a layer of awkwardness when he bounces back and fourth from his regular voice to his Italian accent…or at least I think it is Italian. Hanks also makes his on screen singing debut. Which. Well. It happens.
Similar to other recent Disney adaptations, Pinocchio takes liberties, adding in new characters and new original songs. Unfortunately, all are forgettable. They do not they enhance the narrative — especially when Tony Award winning powerhouse, Cynthia Erivo, isn’t performing any of the new songs. Yes. That’s right. Erivo gets the film’s stand out anthem, “When You Wish Upon A Star”. But that’s it. Erivo is underutilized as the Blue Fairy, with only about ten minutes of screen time. This is a huge disappointment of mine, as well as other viewers in my audience.
Pinocchio does remain faithful to its source material. And yes, this includes the nightmare-inducing donkey transformation in Pleasure Island. Still gives me the heebie jeebies…even if they gave it a Luke Evans led musical number.
At the end of the day, Pinocchio aspires to be a made-for-tv movie and nothing grander. It knows what it is and I’m sure families will enjoy it.
Final Thoughts: Hi-diddle-dee-dee, stick to the original for me. Erivo is great, the rest is fine, and yes I just wanted this rhyme.