A wooden adaptation- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

If you thought the recent Marvel content hasn’t quite hit storytelling finesse in the way that the studio did for many years, wait till you see its parent company, Disney’s latest film, Pinocchio. The studio giant has taken one of its iconic properties and somehow sucked out all charm from it, despite roping in one of the best actors of this century.

The story of Robert Zemeckis’s latest iteration of this classic sticks to the old, familiar story with few changes—and that’s perhaps the biggest disappointment of all. Adaptations offer avenues for reinvention and reimagination, and yet, Zemeckis passes on the opportunity. Sadly, the makers are content with playing things safe in a bid to replicate the charms of the 1940 original animated musical fantasy of the same name.

Problems range from lackadaisical pacing to a lack of novelty. There are plenty of Disney references in this film, but unlike clever nods from former films, Pinocchio opts for the easy way by attributing each wooden cuckoo clock adorning the house of Geppetto (Tom Hanks), to a Disney film theme. So, you see references to Toy Story, Donald Duck, Dumbo, Lion King… you name it.

The film follows in the long list of Disney’s recent tryst with live-action adaptations of previous hit animated films, including Aladdin (2019), The Lion King (2019), Lady and the Tramp (2019) and Mulan (2020). None of them succeeded in working the old Disney magic, and yet, Pinocchio hits new lows by being as soulless and wooden as the toy at the heart of it all.

The only positive, perhaps, is the voice-acting by Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the wisecracking anthropomorphic Jiminy Cricket. As the film’s narrator, Jiminy delivers some funny lines that keep you invested, including calling ‘hell’, “H, E, and double hockey sticks!” Also, the film, despite having a mix of real-life and animated characters, feels impressively realistic, thanks to some admirable VFX work, which comes as no surprise, given that the film is made by the director of Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Speaking of Zemeckis, rather curiously, his collaborations with Hanks have either been cult classics like Forrest Gump and Cast Away or middling films like Finch and The Polar Express. Pinocchio, unfortunately, is another addition to the latter.

Fans of this classic may have some hope though, given that Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animated Pinocchio is set for release later this year. But as for Disney’s Pinocchio, we must declare it as deadwood or risk our noses growing.

Robert Zemeckis
Genre: Animation
Platform: Disney+ Hotstar
Language: English

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