Pinocchio’s Christmas Review


It’s time to look at a fresh take on Pinocchio. This one is by the Rankin/Bass guys and doubles as both an origin as well as a Christmas special. It’s an interesting version for sure, but it’s fairly short and once again this feels like it ends too soon. I also think the film didn’t work hard enough to make Pinocchio a sympathetic character and by the end you’ll be left unsatisfied with the whole thing.

The film starts with Geppetto looking to get Pinocchio a present. He decides to get the one thing he’s sure the kid always wanted, an arithmetic book. From the start you can tell that Geppetto means well but he is seriously out of touch. Pinocchio immediately sells the book and looks to buy something for his old friend. That’s when his other friends Fox and Cat show up. They tell Pinocchio about magical seeds he can buy. After suckering Pinocchio out of his money he becomes desperate for more options. He joins a travelling circus and even gets kidnapped at one point. What’s a puppet to do?

The problem with Pinocchio is that he’s never particularly sorry about what he does. The lies come very naturally to him here, even more than in other versions. Of course by the end he basically gets over his lying ways, but it took a lot of effort. He even chased out Jiminy cricket early on. Also, Pinocchio is extremely gullible in this version. Fox and Cat trick him numerous times yet he somehow doesn’t ever find out that they aren’t his friends. You’d think that after a while he would put the pieces together, but it would seem that he is simply too trusting. It becomes annoying by the end though as you’d like those characters to have met some kind of justice.

Geppetto also doesn’t look good here. When Pinocchio is lost he starts looking around town, but can’t even recognize Pinocchio through a simple disguise. So much for their strong bond right? He is very old so I guess his eyesight is going a bit, but I think it’s reasonable to assume that he should still be able to do a little better than this. Cat makes for a terrible villain with how she keeps sabotaging Fox, but Fox was reasonable. I think the voice actor had a lot of fun with this role. He was pretty over the top but in an intentional way that just worked well. If you gotta have a villain to mess with Pinocchio, you want someone like this.

As always, I do have to say that the animation style isn’t quite my thing. It’s not terrible but not as smooth as the traditional hand drawn animation we’ve all come to love. I’m also pretty mixed on Pinocchio’s design. It just doesn’t look right as I’m so used to the old one. It’s not a bad design though, it’ll just take some time getting used to it and the special isn’t really long enough for that to happen. There isn’t much of a soundtrack, but the writing is decent. Nothing special, but nothing bad. It’s just around.

Overall, Pinocchio’s Christmas is a decent special, but I wouldn’t call it the most interesting or enjoyable. It’s not a bad time and I don’t think you’ll regret the 40 minutes it took to watch this one, but it just feels bland. The writers grabbed the story of Pinocchio but didn’t actually do anything with it. Switch around the characters with other iconic figures and the plot really wouldn’t change almost at all. That’s always a bad sign. Still, if you want to watch some adventures it’s a reasonable flick to check out. Otherwise, I’d stick to the classic tale. At least in the full movie him turning into a donkey was pure hype.

Overall 5/10

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Pinocchio Review


It’s time for another classic Disney movie from the older days. I’d say that it’s easily the darkest one of them all. I can’t say that I knew much about the film aside from the general premise so I can safely say that it was pretty surprising. It’s definitely a film that you’ll want to add to your collection and you won’t be forgetting it anytime soon.

Geppetto was an old man who was growing pretty bored with his set up. He has a cat and a gold fish, but he wanted a kid as well. He wished upon a falling star that he could finally have one and that’s when Pinocchio was born. He was a puppet boy, but he was still alive so I suppose that counts. Geppetto quickly tells Pinocchio that he has to go to school so the kid heads off, but is confronted by some shady fellows. They trick Pinocchio into being in a circus where he is forced to perform. His conscience, a man cricket named Jiminy gets him out of that mess, but then Pinocchio is sold into slavery on Pleasure Island. He gets drunk and smokes quite a lot, but the downside to this is that you turn into a Donkey. Meanwhile Geppetto falls into a whale and gets himself into a sticky situation. Can Pinocchio save him or is it too late?

You may not be surprised at this, but Pinocchio isn’t a very likable main character. He is easily swayed by the masses and ends up getting himself into a lot of trouble. He starts to drink quite a lot and smokes as well. We don’t see him get into drugs at least, but you can tell that the kid fell into hard times. If not for Jiminy, the experience would have been quite fatal. It just goes to show that you can’t go with the “cool” crowd for too long or you’ll end up taking some hits. The unfortunate part about all of this is that Pinocchio never really seems to learn his lesson. He makes the same mistakes multiple times in the film so you have to wonder how sincere he is. Also, I would have stayed as a puppet kid if I was him. It seems like it’d be pretty novel if you ask me.

Jiminy is the better character here for the most part. He’s not perfect as his polite exterior cracks a few times, but he is persistent when it comes to helping Pinocchio. It’s not an easy job either so most crickets would have caved in after a while. Jiminy definitely has most of the best lines in the film and it’s fitting since his voice is also the most charismatic. The film wouldn’t be nearly as enjoyable without him in it. He’s easily the best character here. Unfortunately, Geppetto was not a good character. He just comes across as very demanding and not very smart. You’d think that he would escort Pinocchio to school on his first day since he doesn’t even know how to be a person yet right? Nah, Geppetto is far too busy for that. He really should have been a whole lot more careful. I don’t even know how he got stuck in a whale. Maybe his car’s GPS was broken.

Honest John was the first villain to show up and he is pretty cunning. When all else fails…he doesn’t. His plans aren’t half bad even if they revolve around the fact that Pinocchio doesn’t know how to fight back. His name also just makes so much sense for the character. A sly fox may not be the most original idea out there, but as this film is so old, most films ended up copying from this one’s example. There are a few other supporting characters like a cat and a gold fish, but neither of them had much of a role here. They didn’t really add anything to the equation.

Pinocchio made a friend over at the bar and I guess he was semi important. He helped to remind Pinocchio that you can drown your conscience away in beer and he was also a crack shot at pool. He had one of the most intense lines in the film as it quickly became literal due to the circumstances. I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of this guy. He was a bad influence to be sure, but at least he knew it. The kid just embraced this fact after a while.

The soundtrack is definitely a lot weaker than the other Disney films. That’s probably because Pinocchio can’t sing as well as any of the famous Disney princesses. He tries his best of course, but the Avengers retake on the “I have no strings on me” song was a lot more impressive. Still, at least the film had a soundtrack, that’s always a good thing since many films just don’t have them or just have a few tunes and call it a day. There’s a lot of music that pops up now and again in this film.

While Pinocchio has a happy ending, the characters never actually stop the main villain. That was a little surprising since the Donkey seller just got away scot free in the end. Maybe a sequel would fix that, but I have a feeling that it’s just a forgotten plot point. You can’t help but feel bad for all of the other kids. Having a human trafficking plot in a kid’s Disney film must have been somewhat controversial back in the day. I mean, they did turn the kids into donkeys first though so maybe it was subtle enough for everyone to miss that little detail back in the day. The fact that the villain gets away is probably my only real negative with the film. I was hoping that he would be brought to justice. Having an arrest is always a good moral booster for the heroes.

Overall, Pinocchio is a solid film. It fits right in with the rest of the Disney films even if it is a lot darker. Forget everything you think you know about the character as you sit down to watch this film. Odds are that your childhood recollections about this movie are completely different from what is actually happening in the movie. It’s sort of like how the Berenstain Bears have altered the spelling a few times since the good ole days even if the Internet seems to not remember this. The intriguing cosmic revelations from this are fun to think about. Do Parrallel dimensions exist and does it even matter if they do? You’ll be thinking about these concepts as you watch the movie. The pacing is pretty good though so you won’t get too many chances to think about this so make the most of your opportunities.

Overall 7/10