Remake of a classic

Disney’s “Pinocchio” proves drastic similarities and differences compared to the 1940s film

By Peyton Leahy

In 1940, a film was released about an old woodworker who wishes his puppet Pinocchio was a real boy. A fairy comes one night and gifts that to him. Pinocchio, now a real boy, must learn and overcome the troubles of the real world. 

This was one of the earlier works produced by Disney, and following its recent trend, is re-making some of its old films. Pinocchio was one of the films that was chosen to be remade.

“Pinocchio” was released in 2022 to Disney+ on Sep. 8. with their starring cast of Tom Hanks as Geppetto, Cynthia Erivo as the fairy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Jiminy Cricket, and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Pinocchio.

The live-action “Pinocchio” starts out with Jiminy Cricket narrating the movie into Geppetto’s home where he is working on his creation Pinocchio. In the original movie, it is very vague as to whether or not he had a dead son. In this live-action movie, he not only has a picture of his dead son but is also mentioned to have a dead wife. The clocks in his collection all show little easter eggs of Disney movies.

The movie follows similarly to the original in its storytelling. Geppetto makes a wooden boy and wishes on a star for the puppet to be a real boy. Then the blue fairy shows up and makes Pinocchio a living puppet, making Jiminy Cricket his live conscience. However, in this movie, the blue fairy only shows up once in the whole movie. 

Now that Pinocchio is a living puppet Geppetto sends him off to school where he is introduced to the con men. Jiminy tells Pinnochio not to trust the con men. What was interesting is that when Pinnochio says he does not know who to believe Jimminy does not seem as persistent as in the last movie and simply says “he’s only a cricket.” 

We actually do see him go to school in this movie but he is kicked out for being a puppet. Thus, going with the con men to join the circus. 

At the circus, we are introduced to a new character. A ballerina named Fabiana and her wooden puppet Sabrina. It is shown she has a broken leg and it is held together with wooden parts. The movie never tells us how she broke her leg. Sabrina acts as a companion to Pinocchio and has her own song. She talks to Pinocchio in a scene where he is trapped in the birdcage and she wants to run away from the circus and start her own.

Speaking of the birdcage scene, when Pinocchio lies to Jiminy, his nose grows longer. This helps Pinocchio get the key to free himself from the birdcage, showing that lying helped him escape a situation. The blue fairy is also not in this scene.

As Pinocchio and Jiminy walk home, Pinocchio gets stumped in traffic and ends up going to Treasure Island. A big thing they changed in this scene is that instead of having the kids drink beer and smoke cigars, they are drinking root beer and destroying clocks. They even censored a word in the donkey scene.

Finally, we get to the scene where Pinocchio finds Geppetto at sea who sold all his clocks to find Pinocchio which was a heartwarming moment. But, the scene where they have to get away from the giant whale was rather quick and not as impactful as the other movie. 

Once they hit shore is where things really differ from the original movie. Instead of having Pinocchio die and come back to life through the blue fairy, earning his chance to be a real boy. It is Geppetto who dies and comes back to life by Pinocchio when he sheds a tear on him. This sounds very familiar to Disney’s “Tangled.”

As Pinocchio and Geppetto are within walking distance from the shore, Jiminy says that there were many stories of Pinocchio and never confirms that he turned into a real boy, saying that he will always be a real boy no matter what. This could have been Disney making a metaphor, but it changes the whole story of Pinocchio.

Pinocchio is a story about a puppet who needs to learn about the real world, the consequences, and the effects of his actions in order to be a real boy. This remake never fully captures those moments or even grants him to get a real boy. It was more of a pity.

Jiminy also never gets his gold badge from the blue fairy at the end. But honestly, did he really deserve one?