Dir: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Tom Hanks; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Benjamin Evan Ainsworth
Writers: Robert Zemeckis; Chris Weitz; Carlo Collodi (original book)
The first ever internationally known work of children’s Italian literature is the book Pinocchio, written in 1883 by Carlo Collodi. Carlo spent most his writing career in Italian politics, writing for political newspapers and magazines.
It wasn’t until 1875, at the age of 49, that he got interested in children’s books. He started with translating French fairy tales into Italian. Then he came up with the idea of using a puppet, or a marionette to express his own convictions of morality, and thus, at age 56, Pinocchio was born.
Zemeckis (the God of Directors) brings back his A Team to work on his Disney remake. The first Disney version was back in 1940, so I believe an updated version was in order. No I ain’t mad at it.
Tom Hanks is back, Zemeckis’s favorite actor, and Alan Silvestri is back, who did the music for Back To The Future.
The two workhorses in this film, that truly make this film happen are Gordon-Levitt and the voice of Pinocchio, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth. Benjamin is dead on as Pinocchio. He hits the pitches we think of when we think Pinocchio, and gives an incredibly innocent spirit to the puppet that is essential to making this film work.
Gordon-Levitt is sensational as Jimney Cricket – the cricket who is the famous conscious of the wooden boy. Joseph gets the voice exactly as we remember it from the first film and is absolutely fantastic.
Hanks on the other hand, seems out of sorts here. No accent, no old age mannerisms, I mean, I know Geppetto is only 40 but he looks old and a little aches and pains would do him good. Seems like Hanks never really found the character in this one and is just doing an SNL skit of Pinocchio.
What Zemeckis does here is nothing short of remarkable. This film is half Roger Rabbit and half Polar Express but amplified for 2022. Very intricate CGI, very tricky VFX, mixed with green screen and he uses a lot of different techniques brilliantly to make this a visually stunning event. Every method he uses his complicated and he makes them all fit seamlessly and mixes them in beautifully. I would truly love to see this in IMAX or at least in theaters, and I hope they do put this film in theaters for the Christmas season.
The songs are shorter than I remember, Zemeckis keeps this thing moving at warp speed so nobody gets bored. The voice actors are just incredible, all the types of effects here are top notch and used wisely by the master himself.
The part where they get eaten by the whale moves along very quickly and has the best CGI / Animation effects I have ever seen. Simply a joy to watch and a great experience to have with your kids.
The story itself is, as they say, as old as time. It is a cautionary tale to kids, to be brave, truthful and unselfish. Listen and respect your parents or bad things will happen – and yea, that’s generally true.
There is not enough of this kind of moral cautionary tale out there for kids that is entertaining to watch and absorb – so when an up to date visual spectacle like this comes along that will keep them entertained and educated – you have to grab it and enjoy it. I know I did.
Listen, write me, say hi, let me know if you agree or disagree and I’ll post it with my Thursday posting! See ya Thursday and thanks for reading. – Paulie