Director Robert Zemeckis has delivered a so-so live action take on Pinocchio that doesn’t necessarily need to exist. He remains faithful to the animated classic—with a creepy change or two.
Geppetto (Tom Hanks) is a toymaker looking to replace his dead son with a puppet. I don’t remember that element from the Disney cartoon, but there you go; that’s what he’s trying to do when he makes Pinocchio. The puppet looks a little odd in the live-action world. Perhaps it’s too shiny? Pinocchio is still likable, just a bit weird-looking.
The visuals are better in other spots, including Honest John (the voice of Keegan-Michael Key), the fox dude, as well as the monster fish at the end. The film does offer a nice “Disney ride” vibe, in that I felt like I was in Disneyland watching it. As a Disney fanatic, this pleased me.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is OK (maybe a bit too precocious) voicing Jiminy Cricket, and Cynthia Erivo does a nice rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star” as the Blue Fairy. Some sequences don’t feel as if they get enough attention, such as why Pinocchio’s nose grows when he lies, or his brief dalliance with the juvenile delinquents who turn into donkeys.
On the plus side: The donkey transformation stuff is actually quite terrifying, as it should be.
Ultimately, you likely won’t feel much of anything after watching Pinocchio. It’s passable entertainment to take in on a streaming service, but it’s proof that Disney’s concentration on live-action remakes of animated classics is getting a bit tedious.
Pinocchio is now streaming on Disney+.