‘Pinocchio’ Review: Bringing Classic Childhood Characters to Life

by Sydnie Grayson, Co-Editor In Chief

After 82 years, Disney Animation Studios decided to remake the classic film, ‘Pinocchio,’ like they have with other films, such as ‘Cinderella’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast.’ About a puppet wanting to live his dreams of being a real boy, this film captures the audience with its bright colors and amazing character actors such as Tom Hanks and Cynthia Erivo. By remaking ‘Pinocchio,’ a major contribution to the Disney legacy, Robert Zemekis uses the same basic plot but adds his own flare to the film by adding a rejuvenating and delightful spin to the childhood classic.

A major difference between the classic 1940 version and the newest remake is that it is a movie musical. By incorporating Erivo, a Broadway singer, Zemekis brings this story to life with songs from the original movie, including “When You Wish Upon A Star.” This film offers many different kinds of songs including angelic and villainous ones like the aforementioned chorus and “Pleasure Island.” These villainous songs are very suspenseful in that they add mystery to what these villains are planning. Other songs like the angelic ones sung by Erivo emphasize the magic of this classic story with slow and sopranic tones. These songs are not necessary in the overall plot of the film, but it adds a sense of modernization to the story, fulfilling Disney’s goal with the remake of this classic.

Tom Hanks, the actor of Gepetto, outdoes himself in this movie, as it is his most recent film since ‘Elvis.’ Hanks brightens the character of Gepetto and has a few songs of his own, such as “When He Was Here With Me” and “Pinocchio, Pinocchio.” The audience feels for this character as Zemekis emphasizes Gepetto’s feelings with different songs that echo those emotions. Thanks to Hanks, the audience can watch the film and endure the emotions, good and bad, of his character, showing how effective Hanks portrays the father figure of Gepetto. For fathers all around the world, this movie along with Hanks’ acting beautifully depicts the struggles of parenthood and the loss of a child. 

This adaptation has a runtime that is 20 minutes longer than the original which Zemekis utilized to add more creativity to these different scenes. One of these is the backstory for the character, Gepetto; the adaptation spends time to reflect on why Gepetto wishes upon that blue star whereas the original doesn’t take time to dwell on this. He also adds a new character, Sabina, another puppet that befriends Pinocchio in his time with Stromoli. This adds another playful element to the story by giving Pinocchio another friend besides Jiminy Cricket, his conscience.

By including original villains like Stromoli and his puppet show and Monstro, Zemekis still maintains the same child-like fear throughout the film. Child actor, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, plays the role of Pinocchio in a way that highlights the original character. He still emphasizes the playful mind of a child and reminds the audience that being a child comes with a lot of responsibilities and life lessons to be learned. Using these villains and this fun-loving character, Zemekis keeps the audience enticed with some original and new plot points.

Disney’s stereotypical remake adds a flare of color to emphasize the difference between the original and the new remodeled version. ‘Pinocchio’ is definitely like every other Disney remake; it uses bright colors and star actors to make the film relevant in our society, while making it look very modern in terms of film style. Disney uses the same storylines, but upgrades the quality of the film and modernizes the look of the overall movie. ‘Pinocchio’ absolutely appeals to the younger audience, but it can also have the same effect on adult Disney-lovers, mainly millennials.  ‘Pinocchio’ is a joy to watch with friends and family; it maintains the same playful energy as the original while also adding new and exciting songs and scenes to tie together this adaptation of the childhood classic, ‘Pinocchio.’ If you have a passion for watching reimagined Disney adaptations of classic movies, Disney has recently released the official trailer for ‘The Little Mermaid’, ‘Hocus Pocus 2’, and ‘Disenchanted.’