Review: Pinocchio Goes Live Action

Madelyn Jimenez, Staff Writer

Pinocchio is back… but is he better?

The live action Pinocchio was exceedingly more detailed and enjoyable than the original. It had more detailed storytelling and kinder messages towards a younger audience compared to the 1940s film. It’s hard to determine whether an animated or live action movie is superior because both are two different types of cinematic experiences. Animation films explain complex ideas and build excitement, while live action films make it easier to deliver a message that is more relatable and can create more compassion or empathy towards the film. So with that in mind, the 2022 live action Pinocchio is just better.

The new live action film Pinocchio, directed by Robert Zemeckis and now on Disney+, is amazing. It gives the viewers a better understanding of the backstory, with new characters, and new plot additions compared to the original. Some people would say that these differences are what makes the film worse, but sometimes it is good to have change. The new characters and the new input on Geppetto’s backstory finally allows the viewer to understand and emotionally connect with this film and its story. Remaking an animated film in live action implies framing the tale in a more realistic light. This film did a great job of making this fairy tale story into a more relatable, heart felt, fun film to watch.

One thing that makes the latest film better is Geppetto’s new backstory. In the opening scene, there is a photo of a young boy that sits on his work bench, Geppetto then sings, “When He Was Here With Me.” This song implies that something devastating must have happened to his real son. Therefore, he creates Pinocchio to fill the void of no longer having a son. This helps clarify why he longs for his wish to come true. In the original animation, it doesn’t explain why Geppetto is making a wooden boy. In the remake, he has a reason as to why he would make it rather than just some old man getting too attached to a puppet he made. It sounds a lot weirder that way, but somehow the original made it work.

The new characters help Pinocchio make the right decisions and find his way back to Gepetto. Fabina puppeteer, who’s a part of Stromboli’s traveling show, performs alongside Pinocchio with her puppet Sabina. This character gives Pinocchio friendly advice and a shoulder to lean on.

Sofia the seagull helps Pinocchio find Geppetto while soaring the sky. This is where one difference occurs. The original shows Pinocchio searching the ocean floor to find Geppetto with Jiminy Cricket, then comes across the Monstro the whale. In both films Pinocchio and Gepetto still get swallowed by Monstro, but the aftermath of the attack leads to a new exciting theme.

In the original Pinocchio, he was lifeless after washing up on shore following Monstro’s attack. He is later brought back to life and changed into a real boy by the blue fairy. In the remake, we see Pinocchio crying over the sight of Geppetto’s lifeless body, but Pinocchio’s tears appear to be magic and bring him back to life. When this happens Pinocchio doesn’t turn into a real boy. He stays the same. Gepetto tells Pinocchio that he didn’t mean for Pinocchio to believe that he wasn’t good enough or less than what he wants. With this new ending, younger audiences get a better understanding of acceptance, careful decision making, and living up to difficult expectations.