Disney’s Pinocchio (2023): a film review by Mark R. Leeper.
In the beginning of Disney’s Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket gets into an argument with the narrator. It is always best to stay on the good side of the narrator.
We refer to this as “Disney’s Pinocchio” to distinguish it from Netflix’s “Pinocchio,” also known as “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.” This follows the grand Hollywood tradition of one studio announcing a film and another producing a copycat version, as seen with “Wyatt Earp” and “Tombstone.” In this case, Disney seems to be the copycat, since del Toro had been working on his version for fourteen years and filming for three.
The difference is often in budget, which holds true here. Disney’s version had a budget of $150 million, while del Toro’s version was allocated $35 million. The most apparent distinction is that Disney’s Pinocchio is a live-action/CGI film, whereas del Toro’s is a stop-motion animation.
Disney’s film boasts the marquee name of Tom Hanks, but unfortunately, his singing in this movie leaves much to be desired.
Disney’s Pinocchio has the traditional Disney look, with Pinocchio appearing as though he was taken straight from the 1940 version.
However, not everything is traditional. The town’s population is more racially diverse than what would be historically accurate, and the Blue Fairy is Black. This has generated a lot of discussion, but considering the 1940 version featured a white, blonde-haired Blue Fairy and the presence of talking foxes and living puppets, concerns about realism seem misplaced.
Another change is that Pleasure Island no longer features smoking or alcohol, making it resemble Disneyland, which is supposedly a bad thing. However, vandalism and bullying still occur, so it is far from an ideal place.
Disney’s Pinocchio was released on Disney+ and began streaming on September 8th, 2022.
Rating: low +2 (-4 to +4) or 7/10