'Pinocchio': Cast & Crew
Director: Robert Zemeckis
Cast: Tom Hanks, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Luke Evans, Cynthia Erivo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Keegan-Michael Key, Lorraine Bracco, Kyanne Lamaya, Lewin Lloyd, Giuseppe Battiston, Sheila Atim, Hannah Flynn
Available On: Disney+ Hotstar
Duration: 1 Hour 45 Minutes
In an Italian village, the wooden puppet Pinocchio is brought to life by the Blue Fairy and seeks the life of adventure while striving to be a real boy. Pinocchio's life is turned upside down when he leaves his father to follow the circus. Will he able to become a real boy? Will he be able to get back to his father? Will he be able to let go off his temptations and save himself from the big bad world? Will he finally grow a conscience of his own? Well, for all that you'll have to watch the movie.
Tom Hanks' look as Geppetto is so perfect it looks straight out of the story book. The curly hair, the rounded white mustache, the high-folded pants – everything is spot on. To add to that, the accent which Hanks has brought on gives the character a much-needed ethos of its own. Hanks may have a shorter screentime but he is the perfect one to play the character.
Luke Evans as the Coachman could have been a lot more shown. Considering he is the main villain of the story, a lot more of his character could have made the kids fear his character a lot more. His character was barely there in a couple of scenes and it just vanishes without giving a worthy ending.
The same issue is with Giuseppe Battiston as Stromboli. The character was too short for kids watching the film to get scared of.
Among the voiceover characters, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket, is the best. The way he modulates his voice to not just sound as the conscience to Pinocchio, but also the narrator of the story. There is a slight difference between the two voices and Joseph Gordon-Levitt has managed to bring that out oh-so-perfectly.
Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Pinocchio definitely stands tall with a character who has to take the entire story forward on its shoulders. While Ainsworth has manged to get the diction and the body language aptly, there was still a lot more that he could do with the antics. The character of Pinocchio is a loved by kids the most, and it wouldn't have harmed to have dialed up the fun and crazy antics a bit more.
Keegan-Michael Key as Honest John also faces a similar fate as Stromboli and the Coachman. The character of Honest John is there for a couple of scenes and simply vanishes without any intimation. No way would kids watching the film get afraid of the character, which is the ultimate goal of the same.
'Pinocchio': Script, Direction & Technical Aspects
The writing by Robert Zemeckis and Chris Weitz is the weak point in 'Pinocchio'. The character of Pinocchio is world famous for his growing nose – every time he lies, his nose grows. However, that aspect has not been explored that much in the film. Baring aside one scene, the growing nose hasn't been used at all throughout the film. Even in that one scene, it's never explained as to how does his nose grow or why does it grow when he lies. That part shouldn't have been left unexplained, especially considering this is a children's film and many kids wouldn't have had heard of the story before, and this might be their first introduction to Pinocchio.
Another problem with Zemeckis' direction was trying to have too many villains in a short period of time. Considering 'Pinocchio's primary target audience are the kids, who would love to see a good wins over bad story, Zemeckis should have stuck to one villain itself and made that itself very powerful, so that when Pinocchio saves himself from it, there is a standing ovation of claps from the kids. Sadly, there were too many villainous characters and they all were more or less, just bink-and-miss to begin with.
Also, children's films are laden with underlying messaging so as to teach something to little kids without actually teaching them. Sadly, in 'Pinocchio' there was no such underlying messaging. Or rather, it just got lost amidst the plethora of villains.
Don Burgess' cinematography was fantastic. As this is a fantasy fiction story, which was set in the medieval times, the picturisation of the same had to be apt. Burgess managed to get the minutest of details to perfection, which really deserves heavy praise.
Jesse Goldsmith and Mick Audsley's editing is crisp and to the point. They've managed to keep the feature length to 105 minutes, which wouldn't let the kids get too tired, and wouldn't make the parents, watching with the kids, feel too bored.
Alan Silvestri's music saves the day for the film, as the background score and the songs are mellifluous to say the least. 'When You Wish Upon a Star' by Cynthia Erivo is something that kids would love to listen to over and over again. Listening to the age-old classic 'I've Got No Strings' once again was fantastic. Tom Hanks performing 'Pinocchio, Pinocchio' is also too hard to miss out on.
'Pinocchio': Can Kids Watch It?
It's a film made for children, and they would definitely enjoy it to their heart's content. However, children's films usually have a strong messaging underneath the storyline, which was sadly missing throughout 'Pinocchio'. Or rather, it was there, but with so many villains at play, the messaging simply kept getting tossed from one to another. To add to that the two main draws of the movie, the lengthening nose and Tom Hanks were both short on screentime. So, as an adult if you're looking for an animated movie to watch, definitely Avoid. But if you want to watch it with your kids and share some quality time, this is definitely a great One Time Watch. I am going with 2.5 stars.