“Pinocchio” Movie Review

Story posted September 16, 2022 in Arts & Entertainment by Sophia Clements.

Does the world need another Disney live action remake? Well even if the answer is no, Disney will make one anyways. The money-grabbing idea has resulted in the release of their newest live action film, Pinocchio.

Pinocchio is the latest Disney classic to be brought back to the big screen, or rather the streaming platform, Disney+, reimagined into live action. Essentially plot for plot the same as the classic 1940 version, the story follows Pinocchio as he is brought to life due to a wish his father, Geppetto, played by Tom Hanks, has made.

Pinocchio’s father, who created him out of pine, wishes upon a star for his wooden creation to come to life because he lost his only son. Once Pinocchio is brought to life by the Blue Fairy, played by Cynthia Erivo, he is given a “conscience,” Jiminy Cricket, voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to help him become a real boy.

In only one day Pinochio is faced with tasks that test his ability to be honest and learn right from wrong. He has to learn what it means to be a real boy before he can become one himself.

The real reason that Pinocchio along with many other Disney live-action remakes don’t create the reaction of excitement Disney is looking for is because, ironically, they are ripping out the magic that was brought in with animation as the medium. With animation, anything is possible and with live-action a studio is limited to what they can make look realistic without the characters looking completely out of place.

Take the live-action Lion King remake- in a scene that requires the most emotion- there was a lion with no visible emotion on his face. It leaves a disconnect between a film and its viewers- something Disney has been struggling with after making all of these remakes. Pinocchio himself felt wooden as a CGI character, no pun intended.

The animators in the 1940 animated version were able to portray a variety of emotions on everyone from the titular character to the little cat, Figaro, but with live action there are limits to what can be done because it is meant to imitate real life. Events that look outlandish in real life look normal or even magical in animation, like carrying around a fishbowl with a fish in it.

Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy was easily the only highlight of the film. Disney was faced with backlash when they originally cast Erivo, but she proved she was meant to be there when she came in to sing the Disney classic, “When You Wish Upon A Star,” even though that was her only scene.

In order to get the role of Geppetto, Tom Hanks himself contacted the director, Robert Zemeckis, when he heard that he was helming the live-action remake. Zemeckis, known for directing the classic Back to the Future trilogy and two all-time Hanks movies, Forrest Gump and Cast Away, is the latest big director to recreate a Disney classic as a live-action film, but he just seems like a big name tacked on to this movie- the film never really seems his.

Overall, Pinocchio is yet another hollow attempt from Walt Disney Pictures trying to profit off their past successes. The film does almost nothing to add or heighten the original and does nothing new to help it stand out in a sea of remakes.

Rating: 1/5


Sophia Clements is a second-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email sbc6003@psu.edu.