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Lonely woodcarver Geppetto longs for a child, and his wish is partially granted when the Blue Fairy brings his wooden marionette Pinocchio to life. In order to become a real boy, Pinocchio must prove himself worthy. He sets out into the world, accompanied by his "conscience," Jiminy Cricket. Pinocchio is led astray by the wicked fox J. Worthington Fowlfellow, first to "a life in the theater"- Stromboli's puppet show - and then to Pleasure Island, where boys behave like (and become!) jackasses. Pinocchio redeems himself by saving Geppetto from Monstro, the whale.
For more about Pinocchio and the Pinocchio Blu-ray release, see the Pinocchio Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on March 8, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Dick Jones, Cliff Edwards, Christian Rub, Walter Catlett, Mel Blanc, Don Brodie
Directors: Norman Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill Roberts
» See full cast & crew
Pinocchio Blu-ray Review
Disney gives glorious new life to yet another animated classic...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, March 8, 2009
From the moment "when you wish upon a star" graced the speakers in my home theater, I found myself in wide-eyed wonder, instantly transported back to my childhood to revisit one of the most moving animated films I've ever had the pleasure of watching. By all accounts, Pinocchio is an unforgettable masterpiece; a deceptively simple coming-of-age tale that, some seventy years after its inception, still has the ability to make a grown man cry. It's even more powerful in light of modern animated features that seem all-too-content resorting to pop-culture references and uninspired stories. Make no mistake, Pinocchio is a rare, timeless classic... one I was more than happy to introduce to a four-year-old who, just like his dear old dad, fell in love with every charming minute.
When a lonely woodcarver named Geppetto (voiced by Christian Rub) crafts a marionette called Pinocchio and makes a heartfelt wish on a starry night, he awakens to find the puppet has come to life. However, the Blue Fairy (Evelyn Venable) who grants the old man's request informs the pair that Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) can only become a real boy if he proves his true worth by being honest and selfless. At the puppet's side is a well-intentioned cricket named Jiminy (Cliff Edwards) who agrees to function as his conscience. The next day Pinocchio begins his life with gusto, but soon falls prey to the wiles of two con men (Mel Blanc and Walter Catlett) who sell him to a showman named Stromboli (Charles Judels). While the mischievous marionette escapes with the help of the Blue Fairy, he's warned to get his act together if he ever wants to be a real boy. Yet when he encounters the same con men as before, Pinocchio lands himself in trouble once again. Shipped off to a twisted dystopia known as Pleasure Island, the puppet has to survive an evil force that transforms children into donkeys, find his way home, and rescue Geppetto (who went searching for his lost son) from the belly of a vicious whale.
It never ceases to amaze me how dark and complex children's' films once were. Pinocchio never pulls a single punch, deftly examining the consequences of poor decision-making, the lure of temptation, and the fading innocence of childhood in every scene. Pinocchio's misadventures aren't lofty or whimsical; they're bleak and grimy, submerging the newborn marionette into a world intent on taking advantage of his ignorance. His visit to Pleasure Island is unsettling, his sacrifice for his father is unnerving, and his gleeful embrace of everything wrong in the world is frightening... yet it regularly imparts invaluable lessons to even its youngest viewers. I don't know about you, but I couldn't ask for a more relevant message to pass on to my son. In an age when animated films focus on being yourself and discovering your own uniqueness, it's refreshing to revisit a classic that teaches kids how easy it is to become something you don't want to be. Sure, its moral allusions can be heavy-handed at times (as can the film's symbology), but I appreciated its frank and honest dissection of several legitimate struggles every person, regardless of age, encounters over and over again throughout the course of their everyday lives.
Just don't let that scare you away. Pinocchio wears its heart on its sleeve, leaving little doubt as to how much Geppetto cares for his son, how imperfect the best intentions can be (Jiminy's mistakes are just as meaningful as Pinocchio's), and how love and selflessness remain two of the most powerful forces on the planet. Combined with stirring music, expressive animation, and a script that focuses the majority of its efforts on meticulous character development, the film transcends its cartoonish presentation to resonate with people of all ages. Perhaps I'm over-analyzing the tale's significance, but I was continually wowed by its artistry, storytelling, and meaning. Did my son cover his eyes once or twice? Sure. Did he look away? Not once. Did he understand everything he was watching? The conversation it struck up between us proved he had. Pinocchio isn't just an animated anomaly; it's a reminder of how worthwhile and important cinema can be... even when to those haven't started school yet.
With my praise and superlatives exhausted, I have little left to offer aside from a hearty recommendation that everyone -- parents, kids, and animation fans of all ages -- spend some time with this heartwarming Disney classic. It not only stands up as well as it did seventy years ago, it still exhibits the power to charm, teach, and influence young minds for the better. I cannot recommend Pinocchio enough.
Pinocchio Blu-ray, Video Quality
After earning critical accolades for its immaculate frame-by-frame remastering of Sleeping Beauty, Disney has chosen Pinocchio to receive its next 1080p/AVC-encoded treatment, granting the 1940 classic a thorough restoration and producing one of the finest traditional animation transfers on the market. The film's colors have been completely reinvigorated, giving each scene tremendous vibrancy, depth, and dimensionality. Even so, the newly-minted 1.33:1 image never feels overworked or insincere, instead allowing its modern artisans the privilege of paying homage to their Disney forbearers. Detail is equally impressive -- the hand-painted backgrounds are wonderfully textured, minor elements on each character is more apparent than ever before, and the lineart is exceptionally crisp and well-defined. More importantly, the picture is incredibly clean and stable. Artifacting, print damage, and noise are non-existent, black levels are rich and deep, and contrast is attractive and, dare I say, flawless.
As it stands, I couldn't find much of anything to complain about... a welcome rarity in my position, I assure you. Pinocchio looks so amazing that I can't wait to see what Disney will do with the rest of its beloved canon in the years to come.
Pinocchio Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The relative low-point of Pinocchio's Blu-ray debut is undoubtedly its DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio track. Don't get me wrong, I can't imagine the film sounding much better than it does here, but voices alternate between thin and stuffy, LFE-laden effects are slightly inconsistent from scene to scene, and directionality is a bit artificial and spotty. Honestly, I preferred listening to the restored mono mix, if for no other reason than to revisit the film as it was meant to be heard. Still, it's impossible to criticize Disney's efforts and investment. A 7.1 surround track may seem like overkill to some, but I found the film's audio elements had been treated with extreme care, leaving little doubt in my mind as to how serious the studio is in presenting their catalog classics with all the bells and whistles available in this modern age without sacrificing the integrity of a film's original presentation. In that regard, Pinocchio offers an impressive audio package that does its best with the inherent limitations of its source material. Considering the film is celebrating its 70th anniversary, that's saying something.
Pinocchio Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 3-disc Blu-ray edition of Pinocchio not only packs in all of the supplemental content from the standard DVD (in high definition no less), it gives fans access to a slew of exclusive extras including a Picture-in-Picture video commentary, BD-Live interactivity, and more. Like the highly-rated Blu-ray release of Sleeping Beauty, Disney really pulls out all the stops to produce a remarkable collection of special features.
Pinocchio Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
What else can I say about this fantastic Disney Blu-ray release? It features a timeless cinematic classic, a gorgeous restoration, a stunning video transfer, a relatively remarkable DTS HD 7.1 Master Audio track, and an endless collection of supplemental material that includes several meaty exclusives. Simply put, the 3-disc Blu-ray edition of Pinocchio should already have a comfortable home on every true filmfan's shelves. Buy it without any further delay.
Pinocchio: Other Editions
Pinocchio Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray.com Confirms Pinocchio Audio Fix - April 19, 2011
Owners of the 70th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of Pinocchio who have sent in their defective disc to Disney for replacement can rest assured. Blu-ray.com staff reviewer Jeffrey Kauffman has now received a replacement disc for Pinocchio and he can confirm the audio ...
• Pinocchio Blu-ray Exchange Program (Update) - April 8, 2011
Walt Disney Studios is offering replacement Blu-ray discs for owners of the 70th Anniversary Blu-ray edition of Pinocchio affected by a reported audio issue. Simply call 1-800-723-4763 and speak with a representative to receive an envelope by which to mail in ...
• Today on Blu-ray - March 10th - March 10, 2009
For their second Platinum Blu-ray title, Disney decided to open their vaults and release their second feature-length animated feature 'Pinocchio'. This timeless story of a wooden marionette who, with help from his designated conscience Jiminy Cricket, is tempted ...
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