Pinocchio (1940)


Director: Hamilton Luske & Ben Sharpsteen
Writer: Carlo Collodi

Pinocchio is a wonder of a film. The opening song, “Wish Upon a Star,” is unforgettable, as is the opening sequence featuring Jiminy Cricket, my favorite character in the film (I mean he does deliver the line: “What does an actor want with a conscience anyway?”) He opens as the narrator and sets the scene at Geppetto’s shop, which is the greatest scene in the film and one of my favorite maybe of all time. The entire sequences of him putting his newly finished Pinocchio, Cleo, and Figaro (who is also awesome) to bed, wishing upon the star and when the Blue Fairy comes down and makes Pin’oke a real boy. Every bit of it is true magic. Perfect and wonderful. It is so beautiful and happy and the animation is great.

But then evil appears and that is where I started to like it less. I disliked all the bad guys, and not in the sense that they were bad guys but the way they were done. Stromboli was just awful and the creepy Pleasure Island guy. How was I not scarred by this and him turning them into jackasses? The message was very in your face in this during this part of the story. I get it, but didn’t like how it was done. If you do bad things and are a bad person, you are a jackass. And then the whole whale thing was just off to me, I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t do a whole lot for me. There were small, specific things during this part that were good and made me smile (“Hey, get a load of that stained glass window.”), but overall it didn’t work.

The magic is all there to be sure, but it starts to lack too soon and for too long. I didn’t like it as much as I remembered it, but I still appreciated it a great deal. A whole extra half star goes for the opening.

***1/2 – Great

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