Thursday 27 October 2022

REVIEW: Pinocchio (2022) - Starring Tom Hanks and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth

Review by Jon Donnis
Pinocchio is one of those titles that has been made and remade many times, and although the Disney cartoon version is the most famous, there have been plenty of other films and cartoons made, mainly due to the fact the story went into the public domain in 1940.

Well for reasons that no one has explained, Disney has decided to remake their own version of Pinocchio from 1940, this time in a live action format with CGI characters.

We find ourselves in 1895 in a small village in Italy, Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has entered the home of an elderly woodcarver Geppetto, played by a curly haired Tom Hanks.

Geppetto has been working on a marionette puppet based on his dead son, keep it light Disney! we then get a silly scene where Tom Hanks thinks up the name  Pinocchio, which is made of "Pine" and then he just sort of comes up with occhio, of course the problem here is that the original book is in Italian, and the occhio means eye.

Geppetto is about to go to bed and sees a shooting star, so makes a wish. I think you know this bit.

A while late while Geppetto is asleep, the star sends a ray of star light which bounces off a mirror and brings Pinocchio to life, and he then visited by affirmative action hire Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo), who then promises to make Pinocchio a real boy if he acts brave, truthful and selfless, and appoints Jiminy to look over Pinocchio and to teach him right from wrong.

In the morning Geppetto wakes up and finds Pinocchio is alive!, instead of grabbing a shovel and whacking this monstrosity, which is what we would all do in this situation, he becomes overjoyed. Before you know it, Pinocchio is being sent to school. Something which no one seems to think is that strange.

Throw in a deceptive, anthropomorphic red fox called Honest John (Keegan-Michael Key) who is trying to con Pinocchio, the head teacher throwing Pinocchio out of school, due to him being a puppet, and you have something of a bastardisation of the original story that should appeal to kids.

Pretty much everyone knows the story of Pinocchio, or at least a version of it. I am not quite sure why Disney decided they needed to release this, other than just an easy cash in, but this film will soon be forgotten and kids will go back to watching the 1940s version instead.

There was a 2019 Italian version of the film released, which is much closer to the original book and done in a much better way and with no CGI. I would advise anyone interested in the story to watch that instead.

The Good
The CGI is of the highest quality, Tom Hanks is decent as Geppetto, and it is an easy film to watch.

The Bad
I just found it slow in parts, and at no point found myself caring whatsoever about Pinocchio, and that is a huge problem for a film like this. Not a patch on the 1940s cartoon, and nowhere near as good as the 2019 film of the same name.

This is not a bad film, don't get me wrong, it is just a film that no one really asked for. Maybe kids will like it, but it doesn't really bring anything new or original to the story, and perhaps it suffers because there have been so many versions of the film, and the 2019 release is widely regarded as the best of the lot.

I Score Pinocchio (2022) a fair 5/10

Out now in cinemas.