“Now, remember, Pinocchio: be a good boy — and always let your conscience be your guide.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Response to Peary’s Review:
Pinocchio — like Snow White — is yet another astonishingly bold Disney adaptation of a “children’s tale” which is simply far too scary for the littlest of audience members. Peary drolly states that the “film has a lot of visuals that could scare a young child (but that’s okay)” — italics mine (!!). Countless fans have shared anecdotes about the most frightening scenes they recall from their own childhoods, with some citing the culminating sea-battle with Monstro the whale (“fabulously animated” with meticulous care; Peary refers to it as “absolutely terrifying”), and many others — including myself — noting that the most personally terrifying scenes were those in which the little boys at “Pleasure Island” are gradually turned into braying donkeys, to be sent off to work in the salt mines or at carnivals. Ouch. (And — minor spoiler alert — there’s no final resolution to this dilemma, by the way; as far as audience members know, the boys’ metamorphoses are permanent.)
Indeed, Pinocchio unapologetically presents the world as the big, bad place it often is, full of temptations and evil, in which it’s really each man — or child — for himself. Pinocchio’s father, while kind-hearted, is presented as utterly clueless, from the moment he sends his “newly born son” out into the world to go to school (why not walk him there on the first day, for goodness sake??? he’s the ultimate ANTI-helicopter-parent), to the final episode of the film, in which we see him mysteriously trapped in a whale, essentially in need of rescuing by Pinocchio himself, rather than the other way around. Meanwhile, it’s a good thing Pinocchio has more reliable “adults” to count on — though both the Blue Fairy (animated via rotoscoping, she truly is “exceptional” looking) and Jiminy Cricket (ukelele-playing Cliff Edwards is “perfect” as his voice) are equally “hands off” at critical moments. Ultimately (spoilers here again), when Pinocchio is granted the wish he’s longed for during his entire short existence, he’s proven he truly deserves it.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
(Listed in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die)