9 years

Review: Pinocchio (1940)

We look at one of Disney's first feature films...

If you were to go inside the Disney vault you’d most likely spot Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King or The Little Mermaid first but, as fantastic as they are, there are other Disney classics which deserve more attention, Pinocchio being a prime example.

Admittedly it does garner a lot of attention but not as much as the aforementioned and for no good reason – it is as dazzling and spectacular as the others and, in some cases, more so.

The second animated classic from the House of Mouse, the film follows Pinocchio, a little wooden puppet brought to life by a wish, who must prove himself worthy of being a real boy with the help of Jiminy Cricket.

Animations will never age disgracefully – they will live forever and deservedly so because films like Pinocchio have everything going for them; the characters are wonderful, the dialogue is accessible for all age groups and the animation is a spectacular display of fantastical imagery whilst the film itself booms with emotional intensity. Disney were, and still are, pioneers of animation. A glance at their back catalogue shows they have produced some of the greatest pieces of film of all time and, out of all of them, films like Pinocchio stand out because of their inherent dazzling nature.

With such a fantastical tale at the film’s heart it is sometimes hard to notice that there are times where realism takes hold, making the story that much more special and one which anyone can relate to. The feeling of being lost in the world is something that many may have experienced as children; it makes the film’s horror that much more real whilst the idea that Pinocchio is an innocent child who has only just come into the world and thereby does not know the moral issues of right and wrong makes it that much more important as a moral lesson for children.

Paradoxically the innocence of Pinocchio is both saddening but also strangely uplifting. As he does not know what is bad and what is good he gives everybody a chance and does not show any distrust which is a wonderful trait to have even if in reality it is a hard one to have. This lesson may be a little unsuitable for children but it is a lesson better geared at the adults who watch the film with their children. It is there to remind them that life can be wonderful if precautions are taken and there’s no problem with children being shown a simple yet effective life lesson like that.

The characters are brought to life from The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi with care and endearing imagination. Each character has eccentric traits that leave an impression on every viewer. The film is considered one of the darker Disney classics and it is easy to see why. There are some truly unsettling moments but with the animation intact they are beautifully terrifying like good art should be. If ever there was an argument that animated film is one of most integral art forms the first batch of Disney animated classics would make a convincing case – after all it would be hard to oppose such masterful efforts. If you wanted to look at some of the most spectacular displays of animation look no further than those with one of the film’s villains, Monstro. The scenes here are beautifully designed; the artwork is reminiscent of a tapestry from the Middle Ages mixed with the fantastical hand of Walt Disney and the remastering of this film really breathes new life into these scenes in particular. It’s arguably the best remastering that Disney have presented us with.

Pinocchio is available in a 2 disc Platinum Edition set but only for a very limited time before it goes back into the Disney Vault.

Best scene:It’s hard to choose with a film such as this but when push comes to shove it has to be the scene with Monstro or the donkey transformation.

Best quote: “Well… guess he won’t need me any more. What does an actor want with a conscience, anyway?”

Most Memorable Character: Jiminy Cricket

Watch this if you liked: Bambi, The Sword in the Stone, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

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