#Review: Pinocchio

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Out today on Disney+ is the latest iteration of Pinocchio. Starring Tom Hanks, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth and Joseph Gordon-Levitt this particular version follows a fully CGI Pinocchio as he learns the lessons that will help him become a real boy.

Pinocchio – More wooden than pine

This is a terrible film. Nothing about this iteration of the fabled tale of the wooden boy who learns moral lessons through terrifying trials is interesting. The story has been sanded down to ensure that there is nothing here that will scare the children. Unfortunately in doing this none of Pinocchio’s adventures feel like they have any stakes.

When Pinocchio enters the infamous Pleasure Island there’s no sense of jeopardy because Pinocchio is such a sweet boy. Why should he worry about being turned into a donkey when he’s doing nothing wrong? Strangely he avoids all the pitfalls of that island. However, he is still punished like the actual bad kids. All this is done so that the director Robert Zemeckis and his team can prey on your nostalgia.

Pinocchio – Made from softwood

Perhaps the worst elements of this film come from the technical elements. The CGI is horrifying at times. The titular puppet has nothing going on behind those baby blues. There is no real sense of emotion. Add to that a surprisingly amateurish performance from Ainsworth and Pinocchio sounds like an A.I. recording.

No one in this film is particularly good. One major issue was Joseph Gordon-Levitt who was completely miscast. His portrayal of Jiminy Cricket is a caricature of the 1940s version of the character. Levitt doesn’t try for anything interesting, he tries to recapture the magic and fails miserably. Thankfully there is an exception in the shape of Hanks’ Geppetto. Hanks adds some much-needed humanity to the film. Towards the end of the film, there are several moments with him that genuinely made me laugh and they were on purpose which was a plus. He even made me tear up at several moments.

Ultimately Pinocchio is a hollow story filled with meaningless and vapid characters with little to no charisma. Even with the story being abridged so that they can get to the iconic moments the film is somehow 20 minutes longer and it is atrocious. There may be no strings to hold him down but there is also no heart to lift Pinocchio up.

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