Pinocchio Remake Undermines It’s Own Message


Photo Courtesy: Google

A side by side of original and live action Pinocchio

Aiden Larsen, Staff Writer

In 2010, Alice in Wonderland was released. This would make 1 billion dollars world-wide, which helped spark a series of live-action movie remakes. Disney’s remakes have been given mixed reviews, either being fairly decent or relentlessly hated. Disney continues their line of live-action remakes with Pinocchio, 2022, which has 27% rotten tomatoes or 2.9 out of 5 stars; but does Pinocchio deserve the hate it is getting, or are fans of the original movie on a hate-bandwagon? 

Firstly, Tom Hanks is a great fit for Geppetto. He truly looks like the old carpenter when he wears a wig. In addition, small details such as Honest John wearing a curtain as a cape or Pinocchio turning into a wooden donkey instead of a real one are very interesting and gratifying; however, the rest of the visuals are a little rough in places, such as Pinoccio’s eyes which look like childrens’ stickers placed onto a 3D model. Giving his eyes a painted-on look, such as an oil paint texture, would have helped the problem. The fish was designed to look like its original design, which made it look very unusual to say the least. There are also slight clippings between models in scenes. For instance, when Geppetto holds Pinocchio, the puppet shakes, clipping through his hands making Pinocchio look weightless, which ultimately ruins the illusion. 

The creators used the same music from the original, which was very beautiful, and gave off the “classic Disney” feel. Unfortunately, one song they did add wasn’t very catchy, and you would sit there waiting for the song to end while they showed the same 3 camera angles.

Geppetto is supposedly going through the grief of his son and probably his wife, but he comes off as some crazy lunatic. So much so that a theory of Pinocchio coming to life was all in his head seems more valid than the magic that is taking place. 

When we first meet Jiminy he is talking to his narrating self that takes too long, and later in the movie, he goes on a rant about how gravel on the road will pop under a wheel and shoot something/someone then ends it with a “…we pay taxes don’t we?” for the adults in the audience. Later on, Pleasure Island Jiminy falls down a drain -which was right under Pinoccio and Lampwhick- that goes straight to the donkey operation. Wouldn’t the boys have heard the screams and wails?

The characters Sofia, who is a seagull, Fabiana, an inspiring ballerina, and Sabina, the ballerina puppet controlled by Fabiana served no purpose to the movie. For a moment, it seems that Fabiana will help Pinocchio out of the bird cage, but she ends up leaving before she is able to do anything. Instead, she had Pinocchio use his growing nose to reach the key. It seems inconvenient that the only point of Pinocchio’s growing nose when he lies is to have it affect him negatively. Another thing that was pointlessly added is the representation for both people of color and the physically disabled shown on T.V. It is nice, but they add nothing to the story and could be easily taken out of the movie entirely.  

The biggest problem is that the visuals are distracting to the message of the movie. In cartoons, you’re not focused much on reality or realistic proportions, physics, etc. In Pinocchio, Pinnocchio runs around learning lessons, and particular events feel like metaphors. Like the fox named “Honest John.” Foxes are portrayed as sly, mischievous, and manipulative in the media. He is there to show how you can’t trust everyone you meet. But in live-action, you’re just focused on why people are surprised by a wooden boy while a talking fox can walk around in the streets. It feels like Disney is taking everything too literal, which in turn ruins it. Some messages that Pinocchio is supposed to learn are adjusted, making them pointless. For example, in the Pleasure Island scene, Pinocchio was swept up onto the wagon, so going there shouldn’t weigh down on his conscience since he didn’t have much of a choice. Or showing kids how smoking and/or drinking is bad for them, they show the children having rootbeer. Disney feels like they have to tell you how bad the children are by Pinocchio constantly telling Lampwick that he thinks the things they did were wrong and Lampwick saying who cares over and over. While the things that Pinocchio thought were wrong of the children to do, was to break items that were there to be broken. The children had left the rest of the park alone, but in the original the children left nothing intact and destroyed everything in their path. 

And though some might argue that the movie was targeted for children and that adults shouldn’t be judging a children’s movie, in all reality, would kids today rather watch a live-action film or a cartoon? Not to mention that the majority of them might have never even seen the original, and probably have no sentiment towards it. Disney continues to remake these movies in hopes of profiting off of adults’ nostalgia instead of making memories for the new generation.