Pinocchio Movie Review: An Inspired Tom Hanks Performance Can’t Save Robert Zemeckis’ Dispirited Remake of Disney’s Classic (LatestLY Exclusive)

Pinocchio Movie Review: An Inspired Tom Hanks Performance Can’t Save Robert Zemeckis’ Dispirited Remake of Disney's Classic (LatestLY Exclusive)

Pinocchio Movie Review: In a year that should be titled as the Great Pinocchio-Off with three films based on the iconic children’s story releasing in 2022, comes Robert Zemeckis and Disney’s attempt to capture the same lightning that struck a bottle in 1940. With an inspired cast and the backing of the House of the Mouse, this live-action attempt sadly not only left me underwhelmed, but also reiterated the larger problem of Disney’s remakes. Beast Movie Review: Idris Elba’s Duel With a Lion Is Wrapped Up in an Anti-Climactic Match (Fresh Headline Exclusive).

Directed by Robert Zemeckis, the remake of Disney’s 1940 classic sees an Italian toymaker named Geppetto (Tom Hanks) wish that his puppet Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) comes to life. Having his wish granted by the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo), Pinocchio’s adventure begins as his story about wanting to be a real boy is upended with a tale featuring the greed of man and more.

A Still From Pinocchio (Photo Credit: Disney)

The film begins with Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) giving a voiceover and his past-self finding refuge within Geppetto’s house. Harkening back to the classic opening of the 1940s animated adventure, Gordon-Levitt does a great job in being able to distinguish his voice and provide a performance that shows Jiminy’s adventure from being nothing to being something. Having all the personality of the film trapped within him, his relationship with Pinocchio is rather one of the highlights in a mundane adventure.

Tom Hanks too provides a meaningful performance as Geppetto’s contagious love for Pinocchio feels genuine, while Benjamin Evan Ainsworth’s personality exudes all the excitement of being a young stick-child trying to find his place within the world. But voice means nothing as long as the animated characters don’t emote well, even if the animators do a great job at bringing Pinocchio to life.

Watch The Trailer:

The likes of the devious and deceptive Honest John (Keegan-Michael Key), Sofia the Friendly Seagull (Lorraine Bracco), Figaro the Cat and more work wonderfully well as the voice-actors are able to bring about a certain energy that’s matched with the animation. However, the same can’t be said about the dull visual flair that Pinocchio has to offer.

Speaking about the direction of Zemeckis, there was more to be expected here. The original 1940s film was known for using an art-style that was so expensive, that they never chose to work with it again – and the results were up on the screen. 2022’s Pinocchio however isn’t able to bring that same awe and wonder that came with the viewing of the original.

A Still From Pinocchio (Photo Credit: Disney)

A bland and generic world that’s further given a limited ideal of feeling lived in; the cinematic flair is even more wooden than the titular character that we follow. It doesn’t have much to it and the juxtaposition of the CGI characters within a set that clearly feels like it’s been painted on a green screen, there isn’t much to see in Pinocchio.

Iconic locations like the Pleasure Island and the Italian Village end up feeling like a limited imagining of someone that didn’t have much to work with. The story too ends up then feeling like a drag where the plot plays out quite similar to what we have already seen before. We know the story of Pinocchio, and outside of a few characters and some “on-the-nose” jokes adding pizazz to certain sequences, there isn’t much to hold on to. Entire sequences with Pinocchio’s encounters with Stromboli and Honest John feel like quick glimpses trying to capture a familiar feeling, however their framing very much put me off. The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power Series Review: Tolkien’s Fantasy World Wrapped Up in a Dull Plot (Fresh Headline Exclusive).

A Still From Pinocchio (Photo Credit: Disney)

It very much is addicted to not taking risks and sticking by the books to the point where it tries to stand out, but fails miserably in doing so. This further points towards a growing issue within Disney’s remakes and it’s that all of them feel commercialised. There is no sense of honouring the classics while adding a flair to them, and that ultimately leads to a showing that is uninspired and very much so – a knockoff for the lack of a better term.


The Animation

Cast Embraces Characters Well


Feels Uninspired

Visual Style Feels Boring

Final Thoughts

For a story about a puppet without any strings on him, Disney’s Pinocchio feels like it’s puppeteered to be a commercialised outing that aims for the cheap thrills of nostalgia. While the casting and the CGI for the animated characters work very well, the Zemeckis-directed outing fails infuse life into those characters and their stories. Pinocchio is streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.

(The above story first appeared on Fresh Headline on Sep 08, 2022 12:31 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website