Pinocchio - Disney Films Project
We recently watched and reviewed Disney's 2nd animated masterpiece Pinocchio for our Disney Films Project.
It was amazing to see how much animation improved in just two short years. Pinocchio was released in February of 1940 and unfortunately, the timing of World War II hurt it's box office success.
Later generations have praised the movie, which you'll hear a lot of during these reviews. The soundtrack in particular has stuck in people's heads. (Including the theme for Disney itself, When You Wish Upon a Star.) The characters are still popular in today's Disney culture and Jiminy Cricket in particular has been a lasting icon.
Our family has enjoyed this movie in the past, but there are definitely some dark parts of the story. It was interesting to watch it again after not seeing it for at least ten years.
For me, the best part of this film is in Gepetto's cottage at the beginning of the film. I love all the clocks and toys with moving parts. His joy and sweet personality are fun to watch and I like Jiminy as a character. Figaro and Cleo are cute little sidekicks. I sort of wish they all could have just lived happily ever after without all the struggles. But, then how do you make a movie out of that? Naturally, the storyline has challenges to be overcome and the movie is based on an Italian novel and the Disney team struggled to tell the story in an appealing way which meant they had to change a lot of the details.
I really don't like the donkey story line, but the rest of the movie is quite charming. I especially love the musical number with all the marionettes. That is an amazing segment of animation! In the end, the movie feels like a good tale of how morals and choices can impact your life. I give Pinocchio 6 out of 10 Mickey heads on our rating scale.
Second Opinion With Alex Nelson:
I came into this movie expecting to dislike it, as this film terrified me as a kid. Time, however, has refined the film into a work that stands above and beyond as a technical and story-tale master work. (Save a few odd happenings here and there. Like, why is the talking fox astonished at a wooden boy?)
Overall, this isn't the best film, but it's impeccable in working. Technically perfect, but not for the younger crowd.
Alex's Verdict: 7/10 Mickey Heads. It's the best morality tale Disney ever made. Still, it's oddly spiritual. Is this Walt's Missouri background showing, or a fault in the tale? Ah well, it's better than the original!
Riley's Rave Review:
I really liked this film when I was a young child because I didn't really understand all the dark parts of the story. As I got a little older, it became less of a favorite. Now, I can appreciate it for what it is and I think it's a great example of a moral tale.
I give this film 6 out of 10 Mickey heads.
Facts about Walt Disney's Pinocchio:
- The Village Haus in Disneyland has a crooked exit sign being pulled by Figaro, a result of one of the support beams blocking the natural exit sign area.
- Speaking of Figaro, he occasionally appears as Minnie Mouse's pet cat.
- Jiminy Cricket originally had a more cricket-like design, which was refined because it didn't seem sympathetic enough. (Now compare Cri-kee from Mulan.)
- Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland appear as books in the opening. Both were in active development around this time, with production halted for the war.
- Jiminy Cricket headed up a series of films for the Mickey Mouse Club called I'm No Fool. These would be expanded into schools as requests permitted.
One more fun little tidbit...
From 1998-2001 we had a black and white cat (that we adopted from a local animal shelter) that we named Figaro because it looked like the cat from Pinocchio. We also felt the name was fitting because Alex had wished upon a star for a cat, just like Gepetto wished for a real boy. Obviously, his wish came true!
I searched high and low for a stuffed animal version of Figaro because my daughter really wanted one for her collection. I finally found this one on ebay. Not sure what ever happened to it, but I'm guessing it got worn out with time. So did the cat.