“Pinocchio”: The Hollow Remake of a Classic 

By Anna Harman

Disney+ recently released the reimagined live-action and partially-animated version of the classic film “Pinocchio” on September 8th. 

While I love Disney and the movies that they produce, I found this film partially disappointing. Personally, I don’t love when movies are remade. I feel that it takes away from the character and authenticity of the original film. 

The movie shined the brightest when it recreated scenes from the original “Pinocchio.”Geppetto, a cuckoo clockmaker, builds a puppet out of wood because he wants a real son, he wishes upon a star that he could have a son, and the blue fairy (Cynthia Erivo) brings the boy to life. Pinocchio is provided with Jiminy Cricket as his conscience, who has a small little cane and top hat. And Pinocchio disobeys his father and eventually gets kidnapped by a puppet show, then ends up on Pleasure Island, which turns unruly boys into donkeys. They also made sure to include the legendary song “When You Wish Upon a Star.” When Cynthia Erivo performed her rendition of the classic song, it was the most magical part of the movie. I enjoyed seeing all the cuckoo clocks Geppetto had in his shop. The animators clearly spent a lot of time brainstorming ideas and animating them. They were all intricately designed with Disney characters such as Maleficent, Woody from “Toy Story”, Snow White and the dwarfs, and Ariel. 

However, there are several differences between the reimagined film and the classic. First, Geppetto (Tom Hanks) creates Pinocchio out of wood because he lost his son and wife. This was never a plot point in the original.  

Also in the original movie, Pinocchio was portrayed as an unruly and naive child. In the new film, Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Ainsworth) is made to have essentially no personality. He is only occasionally misled by ignorantly giving in to peer pressure. He is curious about how the real world works, and so he learns about things such as taxes, fame, and horse manure. Like many reimagined versions of Disney movies, there were many new musical numbers in this film as well. The writers also added new characters such as a seagull, a puppeteer named Fabiana (Kyanne Lamaya), and her puppet Sabina (voiced by Jaquita Ta’le) that become friends with Pinocchio and Jiminy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt). 

Many critics say that the re-animated version of Pinocchio appears lifeless

One other difference within this film was that there was a heavy emphasis placed on the importance of fame taught to Pinocchio by the fox “Honest John” (Keegan-Michael Key). The fox tried to convince Pinnochio he needed to become famous to make his father proud. He told him that joining the circus was better than being a real boy. Pinnochio, although he’s hesitant at first, believes the fox and ends up being kidnapped by Stromboli (Giuseppe Battiston). The writers tried to make the film relevant by trying to throw in modern references, such as a joke about Chris Pine and talking about the importance of having followers. While it was sometimes funny, those things weren’t a part of the classic fairy tale “Pinocchio” so it felt out of place. 

Some classic Disney films simply don’t need to be re-made.

When Pinocchio went to Pleasure Island, there was a contempt corner where they could yell insults at each other, kids were stealing stuff and destroying stuff, and unlimited amounts of anything they wanted. It made me think of the ways society convinces us that we should be able to do whatever we want, and peer pressures us into thinking that we need to do certain things because everyone else is doing it. The world truly lies to us and our culture is so damaged. Your character and heart are more important than the world’s opinions and peer pressure. That is the message the original movie was trying to get across, but this reimagined film did not need to modernize this and take away from the timeless classic.  

While this movie possessed some of the Disney magic, there were many disappointing differences between the reimagined and original film. While the filmmakers did a good job recreating some of the scenes from the 1940s fairy tale, I wish that Disney would have left this classic alone.  

I give this movie a 7/10. 

“Pinocchio” is now available for streaming on Disney+. 

Anna Harman is a junior Biblical Studies major and also a reporter for Cedars. She appreciates writing, peppermint tea, flowers, and going to concerts.

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