Direction: Robert Zemeckis | Script: Chris Weitz, Robert Zemeckis | Cast: Tom Hanks (Gepetto) Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Jiminy Cricket – voice), Benjamin Evan Ainsworth (Pinocchio – voice), Giuseppe Battiston (Stromboli), others | Playtime: 105 minutes | Year: 2022
Disney isn’t going to give up on its plan to refilm its archive of classic animated films with real actors at breakneck speed. At present, no less than sixteen remakes and sequels are on the program and the list seems to be growing. For next year we can The little Mermaid waiting with real people/sirens, followed by Peter Pan and Wendy and White as snow. There will be remakes in the future Hercules and The Hunchback of Notre Dameas well as the suites of the new versions of The Lion King and aladdin.
Why you would want to make easy, unimaginative remakes of near-perfect titles still can be said to be a mystery. You can perfectly serve your offspring the classics of yesteryear. take Pinocchio, the 1940 animated film, with which Walt Disney created an iconic classic that we all saw in our childhood. With wet hair and a bowl of crisps of course.
The story of the puppet who wants to become a real boy is this time told by Robert Zemeckis, who drums for Tom Hanks for the role of the fatherly Gepetto. Dressed in a huge gray wig and mustache, Hanks portrays a caricatured doll and watchmaker. After making a wish to bring his new Pinocchio doll to life, the next morning he looks at a living doll. The shock is short-lived. Her “son” has to go to school to become such a good boy.
As Pinocchio must learn what real life is, storyteller Jiminy Cricket is bombarded into Pinocchio’s consciousness by the fairy who granted Gepetto’s wish. There we immediately have a controversy, because Americans who still live in the 16th century but have found their way to social networks are angry that the fairy is played by a black actress. Welcome to 2022. A far greater shame (of a creative nature) is that performer Joseph Gordon-Levitt found it necessary to give chirping cricket a southern accent.
In order not to destroy any of its own legacy, the folks at Disney wisely decided to make Pinocchio’s “live-action” look as much like the cartoon version as possible. A strange choice, as his cartoonish appearance stands in stark contrast to the real actors, and the wooden boy contains no outward emotion. Pinocchio, with an unknown optimism, goes through many life lessons disguised as adventures to learn the difference between good and evil. He often has the eyelid on his nose that pushes through lies and falls into the hands of bad guys every time.
Zemeckis combined physical sets with unnecessary green screen work, so many moments feel so clean and unreal that you still get the idea of watching an animated film. Every minute that raises the question why on earth this re-filming was necessary. Zemeckis follows the original story rather slavishly, but leaves himself a little more freedom at the end, when he should have held back. Kids will no doubt gobble up this soulless remake, but if you really advocate good parenting, then you’ve just put up the original.
Pinocchio can be seen at Disney+.
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