Carlo Collodi wrote a novel in 1883 that, in the end, would have a determining impact on the development of the film industry. The Adventures of Pinocchio It was adapted for the big screen by Walt Disney Productions in 1940, becoming the company’s second animated feature film. Now, 82 years later, the almighty production company, in its efforts to continue rescuing animated classics to transfer them to what could be understood as a pseudo live action, gives us a new version of Pinocchio, led by Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis. A couple with almost thirty years of history, who after Forest Gump, Náufrago and Polar Express, return to the fray to update the classic that put music to the well-known Disney introduction, delivering a product for family consumption suitable for all audiencesand circumscribed to the excel sheets that govern the current Mickey Mouse house formula.
Pinocchio is one of those films that, together with Dumbo, Bambi and Trapito (a tremendous drama that should be talked about more), reigned as star products during my earliest childhood, withstanding the arrival of Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin or El King to Leon. The nineties batch brought with it joy, positivism and epicness, reducing the levels of darkness and drama with which the company’s classics had built the morals that resonate in the classic texts that inspired them. The current Pinocchio walks along those paths, forming a more luminous and, to a certain extent, optimistic story.
The film, which replicates most of the sequences of the original tape, shamelessly embraces the norms of the current Disney. This means, from the outset, a large number of explicit references to their own franchises, the insertion of millimetrically calculated gags, some funny meta and a terrifying fear of what they will say, which results in a somewhat disconcerting climax in which the how is maintained, but the what is changed (and no, we don’t have Collodi’s shark).
The one who dresses as a foreigner, in the street they undress him, says the saying; and it is that the references between Disney franchises tire so much that it begins to hurt. As a viewer, I begin to miss fantastic universes in which Pixar does not have a presence or in which Star Wars is not mentioned. I miss stories signed by Disney in which I am not invited to think of the production company itself as an entity that unites franchises. But as expected, this is more of a product than a tributeso that’s the way.
Winks aside, the script, signed by Robert Zemeckis himself, Simon Farnaby (Paddington 2) and Chris Weitz (Antz), strives to update the dangers and temptations of the original film (linguistic modernisms through), while keeping the location unchanged. time in which the action takes place. This gives rise to a series of frictions that denature the universe of this Pinocchio, delivered to current concepts through which to address “intelligent” humor that makes us blurt out that: “children are not going to get this”. I can’t deny it, I’ve laughed at some of those lines, but properly relating them to the rest of the film is another story, since they constitute external elements attached to a story to comply with the recipe mentioned in the first paragraph. The moral, on this occasion, would be that the joke or the wink must prevail.
In this way, the story starts to reach cruising speed when narrating the adventure of the most famous pine puppet in animation. The rhythm benefits from a certain narrative efficiency at the moment when Pinocchio leaves his home to go to school, exposing some of his best moments and portraying his weaknesses.
Animation contained by live action, at times
If I have said before that the script collaborates in denaturalizing the Pinocchio universe, more or less the same can be said of the chosen cinematographic form. On paper, the film is presented as a live-action adaptation. However, what he says in a 3D animation exercise that includes four real actors, and which is disconcerting as far as codes are concerned. In this sense, when animation rules the scene, flirting with cartoon cues and embracing slapstick, it has been when I have felt most comfortable. The commitment to live action cinema feels, again, more like a marketing exercise that seeks to justify the existence of the film, than as a decision capable of contributing something to the story. In fact, it constantly flirts with the limits self-imposed by that decision, which deprives the film of the elasticity of animation, constraining their expressive capacity without delivering significant value in return.
There will be those who say that this is cinema for the whole family, and that it is not necessary to get so pejiguero. I understand it, and everyone is free to enjoy the entertainment products as they see fit. Just as there will be those who do not share anything of what is exposed here, and surely can open other perspectives through their arguments. But I think we would do well not to underestimate family or children’s cinema, or we could end up falling into the superficiality of those who classify animation as “children’s cinema” or, worse still, as a genre. familiar or childishin my opinion, should function as labels that help us discern which keys will be handled in the film in question, not as adjectives that justify mediocrity through its target audience.
The cinema is full of great family films and Pinocchio is not one of them. Does that mean it’s not an entertaining movie? Not at all, it is in the expected average of any animated film released today, because that is the formula towards which it points in its attempt to update itself, and through it it delivers a review of the classic story, of that wonderful and crazy 24-hour adventure that Pinocchio lives, in the form of a functional film. But perhaps, if he had freed himself from the yoke of live-action cinema, from that current recipe that he follows on tiptoe or from the story of the original film, the result would have been different, and not that staying halfway that makes it so forgettable. But there are too many things to get rid of.
The best? Pinocchio.