- Run time: 1 hour 51 minutes
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Where to Watch: Disney+
When lonely Geppetto carves himself a wooden puppet shaped like a boy, he makes a wish with all his heart and names the puppet Pinocchio. After he goes to sleep, the Blue Fairy arrives to carry out his wish and grants Pinocchio life. However, Pinocchio is still a wooden puppet, but with no strings. In order to become a real boy, the Blue Fairy says that he must learn to become one and with help of his talking cricket friend named Jiminy, that is exactly what Pinocchio sets out to do.
Pinocchio 2022 is a live action and CGI blended remake of the classic silver age Disney animated story. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Pinocchio was supposed to be Hollywood legends reuniting to tell a classic fairy tale. However, the over reliance on CGI and odd edits to the story prevent this movie from being anymore than a cheap cash grab. Much like the live action Aladdin, The Lion King, and Mulan, there are so many changes and modern updates made for little to no reason that it leaves audiences scratching their heads. Pinocchio (2022) releases to audiences on Disney+ as an incredibly soulless and disappointing movie, especially considering the Hollywood icons who made it.
Tom Hanks plays Geppetto, the Italian craftsmen who creates Pinocchio as a puppet. His accent work has always left much to be desired and there were certain points where is normal voice slipped through for as much as 2-3 minutes at a time. Considering he doesn’t have that much actual screen time, it’s a little shocking. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as Jiminy Cricket, the talking insect that guides Pinocchio’s decisions as his conscience. While I didn’t know that he was in the movie until the credits rolled, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Gordon-Levitt does a fine job and is actually probably the best member of the cast. Cynthia Erivo is relegated to a bit role as the Blue Fairy and is only given just a few minutes in the over all story. Given that she has just a short appearance, her performance is fine, but wasn’t given room to be anything better. Keegan-Michael Key plays Honest John, the sly fox that takes advantage of Pinocchio. Key does a fine job, but I think that he was miscast or given poor direction. He was rather annoying and I couldn’t wait for him to disappear.
Alright, so the main character, Pinocchio himself. The puppet and the CGI on the puppet look awesome. That’s about the only nice thing I can say about this movie. When Pinocchio’s eyes move, the paint and wood grain moves with them. There are other little details like that that make his character design look and feel great. BUT, his voice is one of the most insufferable performances I’ve ever heard. Benjamin Evan Ainsworth has talent, I’m sure of it. He was solid in his role in The Sandman and he has some other high level acting credits on his IMDb page. But this was a horrible role for him. The clueless nature of Pinocchio didn’t lend itself well to Ainsworth’s performance. If I ever have to hear this voice again, it’ll be too soon. It haunts my dreams.
The world that Pinocchio creates on screen is one of mixed practical and CG effects. There are moments where the set dressing shines and it’s tough to tell what’s generated and what is practical. And then there are moments where there’s a needlessly computer generated Figaro the cat and Cleo the fish are shoved down the viewers throats. There are so many reasons why that’s not necessary and it just rubs me the wrong way. I haven’t seen any of the other live action Disney remakes, aside from Cruella, but I’m not even sure if that counts since it’s a prequel. Some of the creatures, like Honest John, look very good because he’s anthropomorphic by nature. But Figaro and Cleo could have just been real life cats and goldfish instead of computer generated images that cost more than what I make earn in a year to make.
Pinocchio ends up as an incredibly shallow and near worthless remake from Disney. With little to no heart and soul that the original had and a complete modernization that erased any semblance of charm, this is yet another Tom Hanks dud (I haven’t seen Elvis, but I’m sure that relies more on Austin Butler than Hanks.) Anyway, I don’t want to say that Disney has lost their way, because they haven’t lost it all quite yet. But this is yet another stumble in their live action division and I think that there needs to be a serious overhaul in that area.