Pinocchio (2022) Movie Review – A visual stunner with a sweet story but not much depth

A visual stunner with a sweet story but not much depth

This adaptation of the classic Disney tale follows the original story quite closely. Geppetto, an old Italian man, makes Pinocchio in remembrance of his late son. He wishes upon a star, which makes the puppet come alive. Tasked to be brave, truthful and unselfish, Pinocchio sets off on a journey to become a real boy along with Jiminy Cricket, who acts as his conscience.

The story is a straightforward one. Several unsavoury characters try to deter Pinocchio from the right path and he is forced to find his way back, usually with the guidance of Jiminy Cricket. It’s simple and sweet but ultimately lacks depth. This is not a story that makes you think or feel more than necessary.

While there are a host of other interesting characters, it is Pinocchio himself that comes across as a little bland. Being naïve is one thing, but the titular character seems to have no personality of his own. He is buffeted around by others with no agency of his own, even his desire to be a real boy isn’t given much thought. In fact, one of his only compelling moments is the scene where he lies. The lies somehow make him more human, more relatable and more three-dimensional — like a real boy. Had they spent more time on such traits, the movie could have made a wonderful statement about what it is to be real and human. Instead, it is only one moment in the film and Pinocchio spends the rest of it being a goody-two-shoes who only gets involved in trouble because he doesn’t know any better.

Jiminy’s character is a more interesting one. He is well rounded, witty and tasked with a job that is much bigger than himself. It’s intriguing to watch the tiny cricket deal with this literal larger-than-life assignment and his persistence is inspiring. Again, there was potential to make a bigger statement here. It would have been fascinating to see Jiminy’s confident faith in knowing right versus wrong, falter. A true modern adaptation would have struck more hearts if we could see Jiminy struggle with the line in-between, the shades of grey, particularly since it is so relevant today.

Tom Hanks does a lovely job as Geppetto. Even though his accent seems to switch between Italian and American, with his kindly face and rumbly voice, it is hard not to love him for the compassionate father he is. While the other supporting characters don’t get a lot of screen time, each one has its quirks and charms. One that stands out is Fabiana, a dancer in the travelling theatre troupe Pinocchio finds himself in. While the new songs in the film aren’t particularly memorable, Fabiana’s ‘I Will Always Dance’ is a truly lovely track.

Visually, the movie is stunning. While the story fails to grab your heart, it definitely keeps your eyes on the screen. From the blue fairy’s ethereal dress to Geppetto’s intricate wooden clocks, there is plenty of beautiful work to enjoy. The Pleasure Island scenes, in particular, are mesmerizing — making the theme-park-like island look both grand and spooky.

In the end though, one must look for the purpose behind an adaptation. While the movie looks great, its story doesn’t add anything new to the original tale. Instead of using contemporary themes or perspectives, the only modern aspect of the film was a few quips and puns, like references to ‘influencers’ and ‘Chris Pine’. Geppetto’s clocks were packed with references to other Disney characters, which is great for a BuzzFeed list of Easter eggs but doesn’t offer much in terms of the big picture.

Overall, Pinocchio is a decent one-time watch if you are looking for a movie that is simple and sweet but not very thought-provoking or original.


Read More: Pinocchio Ending Explained

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  • Verdict - 6.5/10

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