Pinocchio (2022): A Live Action Disney movie
“Pinocchio” hovers in an existential wasteland, much like its central puppet. The most recent live-action adaptation of a popular Disney animated classic walks a difficult line between staying true to its artistic roots and trying to be new for contemporary audiences. Snarky one-liners coexist alongside well-worn phrases. It’s not simply a piece of wood, but it’s also not a genuine boy.
The high-tech remake by Robert Zemeckis is true to the 1940 film’s original source material and the Italian children’s book, but it also includes brand-new songs and playful pop-culture allusions. (Although one of them is undoubtedly belly-laugh inducing, the majority clang and feel forced.)
So, yeah, you get “When You Wish Upon a Star” (sung by Cynthia Erivo, a vocal powerhouse, as the Blue Fairy), but you also get tidbits of meta information about parenting, education, and the dangers of fame.
The end effect is a jumbled blend that, while occasionally exuberant and humorous, is seldom singular or exceptional.
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But given that he co-wrote “About a Boy” with Chris Weitz and directed the film, it makes perfect sense that Zemeckis would want to take on this significant undertaking. From the stunning hybrid of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?,” to the original “Pinocchio,” which was revolutionary in its aesthetic intricacy, Zemeckis has continuously advanced the boundaries of animation and visual effects. In “The Polar Express,” he used motion capture in a groundbreaking way. (And fortunately, since 2004, technology has advanced to prevent human characters from appearing so horrifyingly rubbery.)
Although many of the details have a tactile authenticity, this new “Pinocchio” essentially seems fully animated. This is particularly true near the climax of the adventure when the cheery puppet finds himself in the gaping maw of a terrifying sea monster. However, we’re getting ahead of ourselves, so we obviously need Jiminy Cricket’s cheery narration (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who starred in Zemeckis’ “The Walk”) to keep us on course.
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You already know the story—a it’s warning about continuing your education and avoiding becoming a delinquent or, worse, an actor—but let’s go over it again.
As the affable woodcarver Gepetto, who also happens to manufacture cuckoo clocks with numerous Disney characters like Dumbo and Maleficent, in an eye-rolling detail, Tom Hanks is at his most amiable. Hanks is reuniting with the director of “Forrest Gump” & “Cast Away” in this cosy cardigan of a role, and between this “Elvis,” he appears to be relishing exploring his purposefully hammy side. It is a silly, amusing performance. It’s okay.
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After finishing up his marionette, which he names Pinocchio, lonely Gepetto makes a wish on a star one night, which brings the puppet to life.
When the Blue Fairy enters the workshop, she sprinkles Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) with magic dust and instructs him to demonstrate his “bravery, truthfulness, and unselfishness” in order to transform into a genuine boy.
You’ll wish there were more of Erivo because she is such a magnificent sight to behold, but unfortunately, we must go on to the next thing. Jiminy Cricket is tasked with serving as his conscience to support him in this endeavour. However, Pinocchio naturally encounters the evil fox “Honest” John on his way to his first day of school, who has other plans for the youngster.
He is portrayed by Keegan-Michael Key, whose portrayal of him is unquestionably the film’s high point. In this otherwise safe endeavour, he adds the kind of brisk delivery and wild, dangerous energy that are lacking elsewhere.
Numerous experiences follow, which we won’t go into detail about here. However, they do feature a ravenous Luke Evans as the Coachman, leading kids to their deaths at Pleasure Island’s glittering carnival of well-ordered pandemonium. The illegal high of smoking is no more; instead, bullying one another on social media is the new teen addiction!
In case you weren’t aware, too much sugar allegedly drives kids insane and makes them want to destroy things. It makes sense instinctively to modernise an 80-year-old movie in this way, but all too frequently these changes are meaningless and offer no new insight.
The moral of the story is once again how important honesty is. This is something that Pinocchio discovers during the entire nose-growing incident, a significant part of his journey that somehow feels rushed in this adaptation. Ainsworth does the titular part with a traditional seriousness that is nearly exaggerated to the point of self-aware comedy.
By the film’s climactic end, which by that point looks completely disconnected from the concept of live action, he is likewise stuck overexplaining everything in a shrill, frantic manner.
All it is are pixels. The music, by seasoned composer and longstanding partner Alan Silvestri with Zemeckis, surges in all the usual, uplifting ways. It’s all quite comfortable and familiar.
But do not worry. If this rendition of “Pinocchio” doesn’t appeal to you, Guillermo del Toro has a stop-motion animation adaptation of the timeless story that will be released in December. We wouldn’t make up information of that nature.
About Pinocchio (2022)
The American musical fantasy film Pinocchio, which stars Robert Zemeckis and Chris Weitz, was released in 2022. This Walt Disney Pictures production is a live-action remake of the studio’s 1940 animated feature of the same name, which was based on Carlo Collodi’s 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio. Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Giuseppe Battiston, Keegan-Michael Key and Joseph Gordon-Levitt have voice roles alongside Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo, Luke Evans, and Giuseppe Battiston in the movie.
The Live-Action Film’s production officially began in April 2015. Sam Mendes and Paul King were both under consideration to helm the film; Zemeckis was officially announced as the director in January 2020.
Tom Hanks reportedly had early discussions to portray Geppetto in the movie in November 2018. After King left the project, he decided against it, but he returned to it in August 2020. The principal cast members were revealed between January and March 2021. On March 1, 2021, principal photography commenced.
Sam Mendes was in talks to helm the film, but on May 22, 2017, it was revealed that Chris Weitz will take Hedges’ place as a screenwriter and producer. Mendes left his position as director on November 13, 2017.
On February 20, 2018, it was revealed that Paul King would be helming the picture, and that Weitz and Andrew Milano would be co-producing it. Late 2018 was projected to see the start of production. Weitz confirmed on August 21, 2018, that the script was still in development and that the production would take place in England and Italy in 2019. Jack Thorne was previously known to be rewriting Weitz’s original script.
According to rumours, Simon Farnaby began working on a fresh draught of the movie in November 2018.
On January 13, 2019, it was revealed that King had departed the movie for “family reasons,” and Disney has begun looking for a replacement director.
The film’s most recent draught of the screenplay was said to have been written by Weitz, King, and Farnaby, and Weitz and Milano were still involved in the project as producers. Robert Zemeckis was rumoured to be in talks to direct the movie on October 18, 2019, and Weitz and Farnaby were still listed as the screenwriters of the screenplay. On January 24, 2020, it was announced that Zemeckis would helm the picture and collaborate with Weitz on a fresh script.
Jack Rapke and Jackie Levine are said to be acting as executive producers.