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Pinocchio (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition) (1940)

1 rating: 5.0
Animation, Classics, and Kids & Family movie directed by Ben Sharpsteen;Hamilton S. Luske

This Disney masterpiece from 1940 will hold up forever precisely because it doesn't restrain or temper the most elementalemotions and themes germane to its story. Based on the Collodi tale about a wooden puppet who wants to become a real boy,Pinocchiois … see full wiki

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1 review about Pinocchio (Two-Disc 70th Anniversary Platinum...

When You Wish Upon a Star

  • Mar 15, 2009
Released in 1940, PINOCCHIO was the second full-length animated film to be released by Walt Disney Studios. Nearly a decade ago PINOCCHIO was also the first feature that Disney released on DVD. The movie is now be re-released again in this re-mastered Platinum Edition.

The plot of the film is rather familiar. An older toy-maker named Gepetto makes a marionette that he names Pinocchio and upon the wishing star wishes that Pinocchio would come to life and be a real boy. The Blue Fairy hears Gepetto's wish and brings Pinocchio to life. However, he is told he can't be a real boy unless he proves himself to be good. The Blue Fairy makes a cricket named Jiminy Pinocchio's conscience to aid him in his journey to becoming good and a real boy. Pinocchio soon gets into one mess after another and eventually finds Gepetto again in the belly of the giant whale Monstro. The adventure there illustrates to both the boy and his father what each is made of.

Next to THE FOX AND THE HOUND, PINOCCHIO was my favorite Disney picture. Years later, it still remains a favorite. The film has some very dark and frightening images, e.g. the Coachmen revealing to Honest John and Gideon how the children who go to Pleasure Island never come back, Lampwick turning into a donkey, the chase from Monstro, etc. I remember being afraid of these images as a child and until I got to college always assumed the earlier Disney pictures were truer to their source material than their modern counterparts. After first reading the original story, I discovered this really wasn't the case. Still, though the film isn't as dark as the original story, it retains much of the spirit and imagination of the original story.

Besides that, the movie is a magnificent piece of filmmaking. Even by today's standards the animation is impressive. Considering the film was made in the late 1930s and was released until 1940, the film is even more impressive. For example, the water effects in the movie were the standard that all great animated picture attempted to emulate and wasn't surpassed until Pixar's 2007 RATATOUILLE. And despite all the advances in animation, PINOCCHIO still remains as part of the canon that serious animation students study.

The movie also has some great characters. There's of course Pinocchio, his loving father Gepetto, The Blue Fairy, Jiminy Cricket, Figaro the cat, and Cleo theGoldfish, Stromboli, Honest John and his sidekick Gideon. Each of these characters is unique and though they appear somewhat cartoonish, they each have an individual personality that people can recognize and relate to. They capture the imagination and allow for suspension of disbelief, inviting viewers into their vivid, yet harrowing world.

Besides the story, animation, and characters, PINOCCHIO is also notable because of the music. PINOCCHIO was the first animated film to win an Oscar in a competitive category; PINOCCHIO picked up statues for both Best Original Score and Best Song. It was a feat that no Disney picture would repeat until the arrival of MARY POPPINS in 1964. Besides the awards, "When You Wish Upon a Star" became the anthem of the Disney empire. Dreams really can come true.

Besides the beautifully re-mastered film, the Platinum Edition of PINOCCHIO includes a nice set of extras. The film is found on disc one along with an audio commentary, Pinocchio's Matter of Facts, Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge, a Disney Song Selection, and a music video of "When You Wish Upon a Star" sung by one of the Disney Channel's latest teen sensations, Meghan Jette Martin.

Disc two has the majority of the special features including two games, the "No Strings Attached: The Making of PINOCCHIO" featurette, deleted scenes, "The Sweatbox" featurette, live action reference footage, art galleries, trailers for PINOCCHIO from three different eras, the deleted song "Honest John", and the short documentary "Gepettos: Then and Now". I especially liked the featurettes and the short documentary. One of the games is a puzzle game that younger children might enjoy, but the other game, "Pleasure Island Carnival Games", is a game aimed at elementary kids that will only work on a DVD player. The featurettes are very informative, full of information that any serious Disney buff or film buff will enjoy. For instance, I didn't even know what a sweatbox was before watching that featurette; now I know it's a room where animators and the director and producer meet to review unfinished clips of the film and how they can be improved. "Gepettos: Then and Now" showcases toymakers from around the world from a maker of classic wooden toys in England to a marionette maker in Prague to a robot maker in Japan.

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