tek's rating:

Pinocchio (PG), on Disney+
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Caution: potential spoilers.

This is a 2022 live-action/CGI adaptation of the 1940 animated film of the same name, directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis. Of course the movie starts with the familiar Disney intro that includes an instrumental version of "When You Wish Upon a Star". Then a CGI Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) comes on the scene, singing a bit of the song, himself. I really liked that opening. As he begins to narrate the movie, he engages in a brief conversation with his earlier self, which was kind of interesting. Then earlier-Jiminy enters the home/shop of woodcarver Geppetto (Tom Hanks), who is just finishing up the creation of a wooden marionette that he names Pinocchio. (He also has a CGI kitten named Figaro and a CGI goldfish named Cleo.) And there are a ton of cuckoo clocks on the walls, which he refuses to sell because, I think, his late wife loved them. I also loved the clocks, because they incorporated a bunch of Disney characters, which I thought was a neat touch. Anyway, I guess Pinocchio reminds Geppetto of his late son. And he makes a wish on a star before going to bed, but we don't get to hear what the wish is.

Several hours later, at midnight, the star shines into Geppetto's house, bounces off a picture of his son, and hits Pinocchio, bringing the puppet to life. (At this point, Pinocchio is CGI. I'm actually not sure if he was CGI or just a regular puppet before he came to life.) Jiminy witnesses this, and is surprised, of course. Then the Blue Fairy shows up, and has a sort of amusing conversation with Pinocchio. She also tells him how to become a real boy, and appoints Jiminy as his conscience. Then she sings "When You Wish Upon a Star", and departs. Geppetto wakes up, looks around, and is surprised but happy to find that Pinocchio has come to life. Sometime later, he sends Pinocchio to go to school, but Pinocchio is stopped by a CGI fox and cat named Honest John (Keegan-Michael Key) and Gideon. John tries to convince Pinocchio he should become famous instead of going to school, and almost succeeds in this, until Jiminy (who had overslept) catches up to them and convinces Pinocchio otherwise. So, Pinocchio goes to school, but gets kicked out by the headmaster for being a puppet. Honest John then traps Jiminy under a jar, and succeeds in getting Pinocchio to go with him. He sells Pinocchio to a puppeteer named Stromboli, who employs a number of other puppeteers, though the only one we meet is a woman named Fabiana. She controls a puppet named Sabina, which she uses to befriend Pinocchio. She and the other puppeteers want to break away from Stromboli and start their own show, and she invites Pinocchio to join them, but it will be some time before they can do that. (I thought Fabiana was a pretty good character, a nice addition to the familiar story, and I was a bit disappointed she didn't have a larger role. But then again, I don't really see how her role could have been any bigger without drastically changing the story.)

Stromboli locks Pinocchio in a cage, but Jiminy eventually shows up and frees him. Meanwhile, Geppetto takes Figaro and Cleo to look for Pinocchio. And... I don't want to spoil too many more details of the plot. There's a CGI seagull named Sofia who helps Pinocchio and Jiminy. And there's a CGI sea monster (not a whale) named Monstro. And a Coachman takes Pinocchio and a bunch of other kids, including a boy named Lampwick, to Pleasure Island. And we're informed that Geppetto sold all his clocks to buy a dinghy to search for Pinocchio on the island. (Which goes to show how much he valued Pinocchio.) And... I'm telling this out of order. I dunno, a lot of stuff happens which is basically along the same plot lines as the 1940 movie, but the details are a bit different. And there's one major difference from the other movie, which I don't know how to feel about, but I won't say what it is. Anyway, I thought it was a reasonably decent movie, overall. Not great, but good enough that it was worth watching, for sure. And I don't know what else to say.

fantasy web films index

live-action re-imaginings of animated (or partly animated) Disney movies
Disney Wiki; TV Tropes; Wikipedia

101 Dalmatians (1996) * Maleficent (2014) * Cinderella (2015) * Pete's Dragon (2016) * The Jungle Book (2016) *
Beauty and the Beast (2017) * Dumbo (2019) * Aladdin (2019) * Lady & the Tramp (2019) * Mulan (2020) * Cruella (2021) *
Pinocchio (2022) * Peter Pan & Wendy (2023) * The Little Mermaid (2023)
In Development: Snow White * Moana * Lilo & Stitch * et al.

I have a tendency to think of this trend as having started with "Maleficent," though I didn't think of it as a "thing" until "Cinderella" came out, and other re-imaginings had been announced. But then I started thinking I should include Alice in Wonderland (2010) as the start of the modern trend (but later decided against considering that part of the trend at all, since it's more of a sequel than a reimagining), as well as remembering that there were other such movies even before that. (I thought I might include 1994's "The Jungle Book", but later decided maybe not.) But particularly since "Cinderella," there have been increasing numbers of old animated Disney movies being remade or completely re-imagined, in live-action. There will be some things I don't include as part of this trend, like TV movies (such as "Geppetto"). And no straight-up modern sequels to old movies, even if they really feel to me like part of this trend (such as "Mary Poppins Returns"). Also no remakes of movies that were live-action to begin with (such as "That Darn Cat", "The Parent Trap", "Freaky Friday", etc.) And obviously no animated remakes of films (which I consider "The Lion King" to be), whether the original was animated or live-action. And no live-action re-imaginings of old Disney movies by other studios (such as "Snow White and the Huntsman" or "Mirror Mirror"). Also I won't bother listing sequels to re-imaginings, unless they're clearly re-imaginings of old sequels to the original movies; but that's just getting too complicated. As for 2016's "Pete's Dragon," that's complicated, itself, considering the original was mostly live-action, and only the dragon was animated. And of course in the remake, it's still just the dragon that's animated (this time as CGI), but I just can't help feeling like the remake is part of this overall trend. Especially considering that the "Jungle Book" movie that came out the same year uses a lot of CGI, itself.