Walt Disney did a remarkable job following the studio's first feature length film ("Snow White") with “Pinocchio” in 1940. “Pinocchio” follows the story of kindhearted woodworker, Geppetto (Christian Rub) and his handmade marionette, Pinocchio. One night, Geppetto sees a star in the distance and wishes Pinocchio could be a real boy. Thanks to Geppetto’s good nature, his wish is granted by a beautiful Blue Fairy (one of the most memorable Disney characters, despite her brief appearances.) Of course, if Pinocchio becoming a real boy was that simple, there’d be no story.
When Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) comes to life, he doesn’t know how to behave like a real boy. The blue fairy tells Pinocchio that if he wants to truly become a real boy, he must prove himself “brave, truthful and unselfish” as well as “learn to choose between right and wrong.” Thankfully, Pinocchio doesn’t have to face the world alone. The Blue Fairy makes a wandering cricket named Jiminy as Pinocchio’s conscience. Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) teaches Pinocchio right from wrong, and how to always let his conscience be his guide.
Geppetto is, no doubt, overcome with joy at the sight of Pinocchio walking and talking, and so he sends him off to school to learn. On his journey to school is when Pinocchio’s test of being a real boy begins. Along the way he meets all kinds of shady characters, including a mischievous Fox and Cat that convince Pinocchio to join a traveling marionette show, a boy named Lampwick (Frankie Darro) who behaves badly and entices Pinocchio to do the same, and the Coachman (Charles Judels, who also plays Stromboli) who wants to sell the boys as workmen (or rather, work donkeys after they turn into jackasses during a night of misbehaving.) All the while, Pinocchio continues to get into trouble and doesn’t listen to Jiminy Cricket when he tries to explain how what he’s doing is wrong. And when Pinocchio lies, his nose grows and grows and grows, much to the Blue Fairy’s (Evelyn Venable) dismay. Still, Jiminy Cricket believes in Pinocchio and tries his best to help him become a real, good boy. And thankfully, in the end Pinocchio learns what really matters and proves himself to be a brave, truthful, unselfish real boy.
“Pinocchio” is full of all kinds of classic Disney characters that will amuse and delight you, including Gepetto’s cat Figaro and his goldfish Cleo. The animation is vibrant and makes me miss the seemingly forgotten style of hand drawn characters and painted backgrounds. At only 88 minutes, “Pinocchio” manages to weave a wonderful story filled with unforgettable characters, memorable songs, and life lessons that are forever relevant.
NOTE: The Blu-Ray edition is a combo pack that includes both the DVD edition (movie disc) and Blu-Ray edition (movie disc + extras disc) of the film.
Transitions of Pinocchio
VIDEO: The Blu-Ray edition offers the film in 1.33:1 (1080p/AVC) and the transfer by Disney is nothing short of exceptional. For a film of this age, the source material is in remarkably good shape, as the print used looked mostly clean and clear. Some light grain is seen throughout much of the film, which is to be expected. Sharpness and detail are quite pleasing, as while “Pinocchio” didn't look remarkably crystal clear, the picture did absolutely appear noticeably crisper and more precise than on past home video releases. Colors appeared bright and well-saturated, leading the film to look younger than its age would indicate. Overall, the experience of watching "Pinocchio" on Blu-Ray will certainly thrill fans, as the picture hasn't looked this good in years.
SOUND: The Blu-Ray offered both the original mono soundtrack and a DTS-HD 7.1 soundtrack option. While the effort is appreciated, the 7.1 option seems like a bit much for "Pinocchio", when a DTS-HD 5.1 audio option probably would have still been sufficient. Surrounds are generally used in a tasteful manner, with the rear speakers providing mild ambience and reinforcement of the score. For a film from this era, audio quality was more than enjoyable, with the score sounding somewhat richer and warmer than in the past, and dialogue remaining clear.
EXTRAS: BONUS FEATURES:
Commentary with Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman. Also included in this commentary are some recordings of artists who worked on the film. The commentary remains consistent with lots of interesting information, including how the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” became such a huge part of Disney. They offer some insight into the chosen animation style as well as the voice actors. The group also share facts that might have otherwise remained unknown or unfamiliar. Definitely worth a listen for fans.
Meaghan Jette Martin’s Music video for “When You Wish Upon a Star” is featured here. Also included is a Disney Song Section where you can choose to just watch the musical numbers in the film, as well as choose to play the film with the lyrics on the screen.
A feature that may appeal to longtime fans of the film is “Pinocchio’s Matter of Facts”. If you choose to watch the film with “Pinocchio’s Matter of Facts” on, then facts will pop up about the film and characters throughout.
With the Blu-ray disc you can choose to watch the DVD in Disney View that includes custom paintings by Tony Bluth in the outer edges of the film that adds an attractive border. You can also watch the DVD in the Cine-Explore experience, which adds picture-in-picture video material throughout the film.
Also included on the Blu-ray features disc:
“No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio” At around 56 minutes, this feature is one of the better additions to the DVD. With interviews from Disney artists and historians, this making-of provides an inside look into a film that started out entirely different than the picture we have today. The feature focuses on the original story by Carlo Collodi and the original look of Pinocchio. With several archived drawings and animation reels, we get a glimpse into some of the steps necessary to turn out what became another Disney classic.
“Deleted Scenes” with an introduction that includes several drawings of what Pinocchio might have looked like and some history regarding the scenes that were left out of the final film. These three deleted scenes were recently discovered and are presented here in storyboard format. One of the deleted scenes is an alternate ending.
“The Sweatbox” is a brief look with interviews and archival photos at how Walt Disney would sit with the filmmakers and watch the storyboard images linked together and then offer his comments on the process.
“Live Action Reference Footage” is a look at how Disney animators used live action footage to refer to when animating. With archival footage and photos, this is an interesting glimpse into how animators brought their drawings to life.
“Pinocchio Art Galleries” offers several groups of images used for the film in several stages of development. The categories include: “Visual Development”, “Gustaf Tenggren Art”, “Maquettes and Models”, “Backgrounds and Layouts”, “Storyboard Art”, “Production Pictures” and “Live Action Reference”
“Geppettos Then and Now”
A short featurette interviewing various toymakers from around the world. A wonderful addition to the DVD.
Also included here is the original theatrical trailer from 1940, the theatrical trailer from 1984, and the theatrical trailer from 1992. Also a deleted original song called “Honest John” is included. And finally, the DVD also offers several other features including three games, “Pinocchio’s Puzzles”, “Pleasure Island Carnival Games”, and “Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge.” Finally, the title is also BD-Live enabled.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
Disney Blue-Ray: Magic in High-Def
Disney Movie Rewards
“Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”
“Tigger & Pooh and a Musical Too”
“School House Rock! Earth”
Final Thoughts: Disney's beloved classic gets magnificent treatment on this new Blu-Ray edition, as not only are some terrific extras included, but the presentation quality is absolutely delightful. Highly recommended.
The Film A