There I said it. >.>
Now, like I said I’m going to be fair when addressing a movie’s shortcomings, but I just want to let you guys know right off the bat; Pinocchio gave me nightmares as a child and as an adult… It just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Now, I can’t say there aren’t things I love about this movie. Because there are. There are things that make this movie still enjoyable; sure there are. Unlike Snow White though, my adult perception hasn’t done much in regards to my feelings towards this movie.
I don’t like it.
Let’s talk about what I do like first though. Much like Snow White, the attention to details, the design of Gepetto’s workshop, the clocks and the music boxes are all very creative and fun. Watching them all go off was my favorite part of this movie as a kid.
My favorite characters are hands down Figaro and Cleo.
They have clearly fleshed out personalities, they’re adorable, and they don’t talk. Because yes, I have serious issues with a certain talking animal in this movie.
No, I don’t mean Honest John. I mean this fucking thing:
Okay, here is where people usually whine about me being too hard on this movie, because, you know… For kids!, but I can’t stomach this guy. He’s the worst fucking conscience in the universe. In fact, here’s his definition of conscience:
And what does the Blue Fairy does upon listening to these words of wisdom? “Hey do you want to be this kid’s conscience, random talking insect who can barely grasp the real concept of what conscience is?”
Yeah, okay, I’ll admit this is more the Blue Fairy’s fault, but she’s barely around long enough for me to properly get pissed with her meanwhile Jiminy is constantly chasing Pinocchio down and shouting his non-advice. Look, this kid has been more than a mere inanimate object for about a day, he doesn’t know right from wrong, he doesn’t know what a conscience is, you might want to give him a bit more guidance than just “do the right thing”!
And while I honestly like Gepetto, I’m starting to think that this shouldn’t be about Pinocchio proving he deserves to be a real boy, but about Gepetto proving that he can be a competent father, seeing as he sees his kid nearly set himself on fire and then just sends him off to school ALONE the next morning with a ‘be a good boy’.
And I get that everything that happens to Pinocchio is a result of poor judgment and bad choices and that’s supposed to be the moral, but the kid never stood a chance out there. He was literally born yesterday and for some reason everyone just expects him to know better, even though he clearly and repeatedly shows them that he DOESN’T!
As a kid, of course, I didn’t nitpick on those things, but we’ll get to the things I didn’t like as a child in a minute, as an adult I consider this a horrible freaking lesson for kids and a missed opportunity to actually explain right and wrong instead of just being all “be good or some horrible shit will happen to you and your dad”. I mean if Jiminy actually gave coherent explanations as to why Pinocchio needs to stop talking to strangers (which by the way he’s never once advised not to do) and go to school and he just ignored him, that alone would redeem this whole train-wreck of a moral.
The reason I hate Jiminy though, the reason I really, really, despise that goddamn cricket, is that the first thing he tells Pinocchio is that he’ll be there if he whistles, or yells, for him…. but in the one scene Pinocchio actually does that, HE’S NOT THERE. Not only that, but in Pleasure Island, he gets offended because Pinocchio says this other kid is his best friend… And leaves him to turn into a fucking donkey! Because for Jiminy being responsible for this kid means trying once or twice and then going “meh, fuck it, I tried” until he realizes “wait maybe this will lead to some mortal danger” and comes back. Which he wouldn’t have to do if he didn’t keep on fucking LEAVING. =_=
*sigh* I’m sorry, I was trying not to swear so much in these, but I just… I hate that cricket.
Alright, now that I got that off my chest, let’s talk about the villains in this one. We had the Evil Queen in Snow White, who was scary as all hell and in this… we have a bunch of greedy assholes. I’m not saying they’re not evil, or scary, per se, but they are not nearly as memorable to me. I mean Stromboli is scary, he locks Pinocchio away and threatens to make him into firewood when he’s no longer useful, but after he gets away that’s pretty much the last we see of him. Then there’s Pleasure Island guy and… As an adult watching this I have to raise my brow at this adult gathering little boys to take them to ‘pleasure island’… Regardless, he’s scary but he’s not THE villain. And then there’s Honest John and Gideon who are just opportunists. And by the way, I really like Gideon… He’s one the funniest characters in this film, I mean just look at him. Maybe he’s just a dummy, but I’m pretty sure he’s actually just drunk all the time.
The fact that there’s no major villain in this movie is actually a good thing considering it’s meant as a cautionary tale for misbehaved kids. It keeps its danger closer to the realm of reality (anthropomorphic foxes and boys turning into donkeys aside) and does help illustrate the idea that you can’t trust just anyone you meet. That’s one thing I do believe was very well done in this film.
And one thing that was done maybe a bit too well was Pleasure Island. That whole part of the movie scared the crap out of me as a kid and I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t still affect me. Even for a 1940’s film, having kids smoking is pretty goddamn ballsy, I have to give it that, but dude… Do we really need to see a kid painfully turning into a donkey while crying for his mom? I mean… JEESUS! A little less graphic detail please, Disney. For my sanity?
And yeah, all those kids who get turned into donkeys… We never see them again. Most of them get sent to the mines or whatever, but those that can still tal-… Wait, wait, wait… Pinocchio’s Universe is a part of the Shrek universe and there’s the… Uh… Talking… Donkey… In… That… Movie…
The third act, with rescuing Gepetto from the whale, is without a doubt the best part of the film and the ending is very heartwarming still. It has all the things you’d expect, Pinocchio ‘sacrifices’ himself to save his father and technically he dies, but the Blue Fairy comes along and makes him a real boy so he lives again and everyone is happy!
And Jiminy gets a freaking gold badge for doing absolutely nothing worth a damn through this entire mess. Fucking hate that cricket. >.<
As far as happy endings go it’s a pretty satisfying one, unless you’re like me and wanted to see the goddamn cricket squished at some point.
I had decided that I wouldn’t go and look up the original stories for these films because, yes we all know Disney adapted some pretty dark stuff into ‘child friendly’ animation so we don’t need to be pointing that out, but since my greatest problem with Pinocchio is the morals I wanted to see how the original did it.
First, yes; it’s a much darker story. Second; Jiminy is actually useful and likable and comes back as a ghost to help Pinocchio after being killed by him with a freaking hammer, but most importantly; Pinocchio actually acts like a bad boy. He makes truly horrible and selfish choices that cause harm to others and himself. In the end, he actually learned something.
In the Disney version I don’t think Pinocchio learned anything because he was never actually a bad boy, he was just gullible. There’s never ill-intent in anything he does at any point. There’s never a moment of redemption for him because he never really does any significant damage. The most he does is go missing, but Gepetto puts himself in danger on his own because of that.
Overall, Pinocchio is a cute movie and it has its moments, but it never really did anything for me as a kid and it kind of pisses me off today.
I don’t particularly care for any songs in this movie. The song Pinocchio sings in the marionette show is kind of cool and without a doubt my favorite. When You Wish Upon a Star just seems to sum up all the moral issues I have with this movie and, without nitpicking… It’s clingy and boring.
Overall song rating for Pinocchio: 3/10
Racist Moment Spotlight
Fish blackface! Fish blackface! Oh, the audacity of this movie!
Okay, guys, this was my review of Pinocchio. If you also think I’m being too harsh on the cricket and on the movie’s morals overall, I’ll gladly debate it in the comment section, but it’s really just how I feel about it. I can’t help that if I try.
I’m doing these in chronological order for the most part so next up is Fantasia (yaaay), but if I end up doing the next review closer to Halloween, I might pick something more related to the Holiday instead. I’m going to try and do one of these a week from now on and there’s still a couple of them til Halloween, but I can’t guarantee my schedule so we’ll see. ^^”
I’m definitely doing The Nightmare Before Christmas as a Holiday special, I… I’m just not sure if Halloween or Christmas… Hmmm… What do you guys think? ^.-
I’m also not doing direct to video sequels with one or two exceptions. Just a head’s up if you’re expecting future rants about the Little Mermaid 2 or whatever; you might be disappointed. 😛