Does the world need another “Pinocchio” revival?

Methinks not. Let’s face it: Disney’s classic animated feature, treasured by old and young alike, suffices. It’s the beloved version everyone adores and knows. Older generations, for sure, and the current younger folks.

Yet there’s a new 2022 version, a peculiar mashup with live actors and animated figures, with Tom Hanks, of all people, as Geppetto, the elderly clockmaker of tick-tocking clocks. He is sad and lonely in his cottage after the loss of his son.

So he pursues a project – a wooden son?

The revival begins with good intentions and motives, and even includes  — why not? – the cartoon film’s anthem, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” the signature of the Disney franchise and theme parks. But why not? Familiarity sells.

“Pinocchio,” directed by Robert Zemeckis, betrays the concept and intentions of the tale of a clockmaker creating, and giving life (without the strings), to a wooden a puppet doll. This Pinocchio goes to school, where he is bullied and maligned, and even goes to a theme park (not a Disney complex), where he becomes emotionally bruised. Reason: he has no conscience and is poised to be someone who seeks to be famous, a journey that thrusts him into a Pleasure Island of threatening horrors.

Tom Hanks, as Geppetto, who creates a wooden puppet boy, in the newest “Pinocchio.”

The bottom line: Pinocchio wants to be real and in fairy tales, that’s a logical wish. Your nose shouldn’t get long if you have this wish; it’s an acceptable goal, after all. As for Hanks, bewigged and bewildered, he visually fills the bill. But the story is the problem.

The script, by director Zemeckis and co-writer Chris Weitz, is quite a mess with a mission gone astray. It should be family-friendly, but it is often frightening; it should be terrific, but it is terrifying in spots. Not a version or vision for the very young,

Cynthia Erivo

Jiminy Cricket is aboard,  in animation, and voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt,  and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, voiced Pinocchio. Cynthia Erivo, appearing as the Blue Fairy, renders the famous “Wish” ditty in live action, so this is a fantasy within a fantasy, and her version is stunning—she has the wand that will make the wooden boy/toy “real.” Her presence is a good intro/promo when she co-stars in the planned film version of  “Wicked.”

But be warned: Whether you like or dislike revivals, be informed that Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion version of “Pinocchio,” will debut Oct. 15 at the BFI London Film Festival, then destined to have a theatrical premiere in November, followed by a Netflix kickoff Dec. 9. Online previews suggest a dark, perhaps grotesque, rendering is ahead. 

Too many, too often? …

And that’s Show Biz. …

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