Does anyone in 2022 really have strong feelings about the story of Pinocchio? It’s not perplexing that Disney wants to continually mine its back catalogue, but why did Academy Award winning director Robert Zemeckis willingly sign on to this revival which lacks any pizzazz, intrigue, or heart?
Having found success through character reinvention (case in point – Emma Stone’s brilliant Cruella), you’d think Disney would bring a new angle to the wooden puppet hoping to be “real” boy along with his two-dimensional creator Geppetto (Tom Hanks).
The production spent months in London on a freezing sound stage in order to bring this utterly uninspired retelling to life. It’s no secret that Zemeckis was constantly frustrated on set, perhaps seeing the writing on the wall for his animated feature. Frequent collaborator Tom Hanks was able to escape after only a few weeks on the London set, but he didn’t do himself any favors as Geppetto. This is Hanks’ worst outing since his turn as director, writer, and actor in Larry Crowne (2011).
Zemeckis’ film doesn’t hold a candle to the original Disney animated feature from 1940, and if we’re being honest, it’s several rungs on the ladder below Tim Burton’s lackluster Dumbo remake.
Pinocchio is a movie caught between being real and fantasy, faltering in comparison to the original animated movie, and only proving to be garish, unlikable, and off-putting. If you’re going to resurrect this story, at least do something different, more challenging, or more relevant to our modern culture, because Disney already made an old-fashioned, family friendly version, and just making a worse version of that is not exactly going to make that Pinocchio IP more valuable. It’s a hard pass, even if you’re streaming from the comfort of your own home.