Sunday, December 20, 2009

Walt Disney Animation Studios Part 2: Pinocchio

Series Intro:   Here's Part 2 of this multi-part retrospective of Walt Disney Animation Studios' endeavors. They'll mostly be in release date order, save for those that aren't available on DVD at Netflix. (Numbers will be skipped to note missing movies)

Some background info (compiled from Wikipedia and imdb and my own knowledge of the movie).

Official Title: Pinocchio
Release: February 7, 1940
Running Time: 88 minutes
Estimated Cost: $2,400,000 (1940) ($37,085,142.86 adjusted for inflation 2009)
Estimated Revenue: First Theatrical Release $39,000,000 (1940) ($592,538,580.24 adjusted for inflation 2008)
Overall Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Plot Summary:
Papa Geppetto is a lonely word-worker who makes a wonderful wooden puppet, whom he names "Pinocchio." When completed, Geppetto wished upon a star (soon to be a major Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) motive), that this puppet would be a real boy. That evening, the Blue Fairy visits the puppet, turns him into a living puppet (kid of creepy, I know), and assigns Jiminy Cricket to be the boys conscience. Once Pinocchio learns how to behave, he will be a real boy. Well, behaving doesn't come easy for Pinocchio as one misadventure (believing Honest Jon (the fox) and Gideon (the cat)) leads to another (being enslaved at a traveling puppet show) and another (turning into a donkey/puppet hybrid on Pleasure Island) to another (being swallowed by a whale!). Jiminy Cricket isn't that good at guiding Pinocchio on these adventures, and when Pinocchio lies to the Blue Fairy, his nose grows! In the end, after escaping from the whale, Pinocchio confesses to Geppetto and truly feels sorry for his wrong doings. The Blue Fairy makes one more appearance, and turns Pinocchio into a real boy.

I can't forget to mention Figaro and Cleo (Papa Geppetto's cat and fish), who add some comic relief at various points throughout the film.

Songs: When You Wish Upon a Star, Little Wooden Head, Give a Little Whistle, Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee (An Actor's Life for Me), and I've Got No Strings

"When You Wish Upon a Star" will later become a big theme in both WDAS and at the Theme Parks

I believe that the songs were more integral to the plot. Although "Strings' happens on a stage, it really mimics what Pinocchio is feeling about life, and is sung ironically because although he is a walking/talking puppet without strings, he's not free, but a slave to Stromboli (the puppet master). And who could deny the importance of "wishing upon a star" in future Disney endevours

Plot Rating: 4 stars out of 5

The plot moves much faster and more interesting than Snow. Pinocchio overs several sub-plots that help move the plot along. Pinocchio's naivete was more believable given the fact that he didn't have an internal conscious and that he was literally born yesterday  

Animation Rating: 3.5 out of 5

This movie was darker that Snow, both plot wise and the coloring. With this movie, WDAS showed it wasn't just a one trick pony and was able to create a "whole new world" that had more imagery and creativity than it's predecessor.

The Test of Time:

Just like Snow, this had MANY theatrical releases; each one ranking in a lot more money for Disney.

How did this movie effect me as a child? Well, I honestly only watched it a few times as a child, but my mother loved it. I did like that Pinocchio was a boy, and allowed me to have more of a relationship with the puppet. I could see how my conscious is an important part of my decision process and I could see what might happen (although to an extreme) if  I didn't listen to it.

Today, this movie doesn't have as much presence in pop culture as the "Princess" movies (thank you merchandising department at Disney for ignore the boys). He also doesn't have as much presence in the theme parks (where all my friends live!)

Next Up: Should be Fantasia and Dumbo, but both are currently in the Disney "Vault" so Bambi will be review next.

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