Enjoy the 70th anniversary of Walt Disney's classic masterpiece Pinnochio digitally remastered on 2-disc blu-ray DVD available now. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson. With Cate Blanchett, Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz. A darker version of the classic children's fairy tale of a wooden puppet that transforms into a real living boy. Unique Pinocchio Stickers designed and sold by artists. Decorate your laptops, water bottles, helmets, and cars. Get up to 50% off. White or transparent.
The latest cinematic rendering of “ Pinocchio, ” from Italian director Matteo Garrone, is informed not by the friendly 1940 Walt Disney retelling, but the original source material. Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel “The Adventures of Pinocchio” is a much darker affair than the song-filled animated version and Garrone’s film is also a more intense experience, even if he too has softened some of Collodi’s edges. The result may not be suitable for all children, but it is a strange, visionary and enchanting old-world fairy tale that any fan of Guillermo del Toro’s films or Wolfgang Petersen’s “The NeverEnding Story” should give a chance.
It’s unfortunate though understandable that the Italian film has been dubbed into English for its North American theatrical release, making it slightly annoying for adults but ultimately more accessible to children. The best you can do under these circumstances is to just try to ignore it because, for now, it’s the only way you can experience it in the U.S.
Blending realism and fantasy, Garrone’s film takes us back to an impoverished Tuscany where Roberto Benigni as Geppetto sculpts a young boy puppet out of an enchanted piece of wood and begs it to come to life. He’s desperate for a son and overcome with joy when he gets what he wished for. But Pinocchio, played by Federico Ielapi, does not emerge grateful: He is restless and naughty, which is partly naivete and partly mischievousness. It’s not too long before his disobedience finds him far away from home in the company of less than savory characters who he is too trusting of. And Pinocchio must embark on a dangerous and epic odyssey to try to find his way back to Geppetto and safety.
This Pinocchio is perhaps one of the more realistic depictions of what a wooden puppet that’s come to life might look like. His look is almost identical to Enrico Mazzanti’s original drawings and translated to this live-action film through a combination of computer graphics and makeup from Mark Coulier, the Oscar-winning makeup artist behind “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” It is a remarkable achievement in special effects.
The production design is equally noteworthy, from Geppetto’s workshop to the stunning home of the blue-haired fairy who watches over Pinocchio. Although the naturally beautiful Italian landscapes threaten to upstage a lot of the work. Benigni is also particularly strong in the film, although his screen time is brief and just at the beginning and end.
“Pinocchio” was never my
“Pinocchio,” a Roadside Attractions release, is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for “some disturbing images.” Running time: 125 minutes. Three stars out of four.
MPAA Definition of PG-13: Parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Follow AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ldbahr
Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
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Sometimes it is helpful to relate your experiences to something else, in order to more clearly understand it. The movie, “Pinocchio,” can be used as a metaphor for addiction, Jiminy Cricket as their “sober selves” or conscience, and becoming a real boy without “strings” as ultimate recovery. I strongly suggest at least looking up the lyrics to the songs from Pinocchio. The can provide great thinking material. Here is one link that is active as of this writing: http://www.fpx.de/fp/Disney/Lyrics/Pinocchio.html. You can usually find the movie Pinocchio at your local library, or on line from services like NetFlix, Hulu or Amazon. Watch the movie. Afterward, discuss the different characters and themes as they relate to recovery.
Geppetto is a lonely wood carver who loves his cat Figaro and his fish Cleo, but very much wants another human to love. He crafts Pinocchio, a marionette to look like a boy. He tends Pinocchio with great care. One night the Blue Fairy came to answer Geppetto’s wish because he was such a kind, honest and generous man. With that she made Pinocchio come to life, but he was not yet a real boy. To be real, he had to prove himself honest, courageous and compassionate. He had to learn to choose between right and wrong. To help him, the Blue Fairy made Jiminy Cricket his conscience.
The next morning, Geppetto was surprised to find his doll had come to life. Like a good father, he got Pinocchio ready and sent him off to school. On the way to school Pinocchio was stopped by a fox named “Honest John.” Now Honest John was anything but honest. He was a con man. Honest John knew that The Great Stromboli would pay top dollar for a talking, walking wooden doll. He tempted Pinocchio with promises of the amazing things and adventures that awaited him in show business. Jiminy Cricket tried to warn Pinocchio, but fame, adventure and fortune won out. Pinocchio ignored Jiminy Cricket and changed direction.
Jiminy Cricket knew that Pinocchio was making a big mistake, but could not stop him. It was up to Pinocchio to do the next right thing. In the next scene, we see Pinocchio on stage singing “I’ve Got No Strings.” I’ve got no strings to hold me down, to make me fret, or make me frown. // I had strings, but now I am free, there are no strings on me. Ironically, Pinocchio does have strings. In show business, as in addiction, generally the people we interact with do things for us, but only for a price. Pinocchio really is not free to do what he wants. Stromboli doesn’t love him, he just wants him to earn money.
Pinocchio is locked in a cage in a trailer, but Jiminy Cricket finds him. Pinocchio misses Geppetto so much, and Geppetto continues his search for Pinocchio. “I should have listened to you Jiminy.” At one point, the trailer with Pinocchio passes right in front of Geppetto, but Pinocchio cannot hear Geppetto’s calls.
The Blue Fairy reappears. She asks him what he has been up to. He was supposed to be proving himself honest, brave and loving. Pinocchio lies to her. His nose grows. The more he lies, the more his nose grows. In what ways is Pinocchio’s nose like
“Lies keep growing until they are as plain as the nose on your face,” said the Blue Fairy. Pinocchio promises never to lie again. The Blue Fairy helps him break out of the cage and escape from Stromboli. Meanwhile Honest John is celebrating his ability to con Pinocchio and all of the money he got from Stromboli. His acquaintance, the Coachman is also there. Coachman wants Honest John to gather all of the disobedient boys so he can take them to Pleasure Island. Honest John did just that. He even caught Pinocchio again. You would think that he would resist temptation after the last incident, but, no. Pinocchio joins the other troubled boys and goes to Pleasure Island. Along the way he makes friends with a boy named Lampwick. There is so much noise and so many bright lights and so many fun things to do, that Pinocchio does not even notice Jiminy Cricket is not there. Once the place is torn apart, everyone has vanished, except Lampwick and Pinocchio, who are smoking and drinking while playing pool. Jiminy finds Pinocchio and confronts the two. Soon, Jiminy discovers their plan; Pleasure Island has the power to transform bad boys into donkeys( Jack Asses), which the Coachman sells into slavery. Jiminy rushes back to get Pinocchio. Lampwick's transformation is complete, but Pinocchio and Jiminy escape the island. Unfortunately, Pinocchio has grown donkey ears and a tail.
Coachman took advantage of children who were struggling to make the right choices. He tempted them with drugs, gambling, and constant fun.
They go back home only to find that Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo are no longer there. They left on a journey to find Pinocchio and never returned. The Blue Fairy tells them that Geppetto has been swallowed by Monstro the Whale. The pair start searching the ocean for Monstro with very little luck. When they ask sea creatures such as clams and seahorses, they swim and hide in fear at the mention of Monstro's name. Once Monstro was found, Pinocchio was able to reunite with Geppetto, Figaro and Cleo. Geppetto was so glad to see Pinocchio, despite all of the trials they had been through. Pinocchio soon thinks of a plan to escape Monstro by making him sneeze. The enraged animal chases after him and his father. The whale destroys the raft, sending Pinocchio and Geppetto into the unforgiving sea. After witnessing his father almost drowning, Pinocchio grabs him and swims to shore as quick as he can, but it's too late. Even before he gets there, Monstro slams into a rocky wall, creating a forty foot tidal wave. Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and Jiminy survive. When Jiminy looks for Pinocchio, he finds him lying face down in a large puddle, in which he has drowned. Geppetto, Figaro, Cleo, and Jiminy return home and grieve over Pinocchio. Then the Blue Fairy revives Pinocchio and transforms him into a real boy because he has now proved himself brave, truthful and unselfish.
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