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03 June 2011 @ 01:57 pm
My Pinocchio icon has a typo ugh  




Pinocchio is an interesting subject to study. In many ways, it is obvious that Disney had a lot more of everything in this film than he did in Snow White. The film clearly sets out to outdo Snow White in every way possible. It's a bit more mature as a story, it is more detailed in its design, better colored and more clean in its animation. The use of the multiplane camera is simply stunning. And the special effects are extraordinary.
I think it's also important to note, that Pinocchio was a huge failure at the Box Office. And I often just can't explain it to myself. In what world, in 1940 is that movie not something amazing? It's a movie about perseverance and the values of education and knowledge. Maybe it's because I'm such a Ravenclaw but isn't that something we all should get through our heads at a young age? That knowledge is the real power, that without it we're the kind of fools who get taken advantage of? IIIIIIDK. Many people say it was because of the war breaking out, that international audiences didn't get to see the film. But it's still quite disheartening. It was the highest grossing film of the decade, regardless. So I guess there is a point to that.

Anyway, It's also interesting to note that Pinocchio received an episodic treatment that no other Disney film has, really. And this episodic treatment allows the film to touch upon many subjects while still in the main story. It's kind of a shame that Walt never thought of making more clear separations on these episodes, because perhaps they would've benefited from a different treatment each, design wise or music wise. But then again, the fact that they are so seamless makes the movie very coherent despite the very different settings and broken up story telling.



The Characters
I think the character studies in Pinocchio are far more interesting than those of the films that followed it during that decade. Pinocchio has smarter use of characterization and the characters in it serve story in a much more efficient way.
I think, in a lot of ways it's interesting because most of the characters are very creative interpretations of the characters in the original story, and much like in Snow White, it was clear for the animation team that if they wanted their storytelling to be successful, they had to take ownership of the characters (which is what they did when naming the Dwarfs for SW).



The best example of this is Jiminy Cricket. He's a character that is basically non existent in the original story, and Disney not only made him a pivotal part of the film, they turned him into a Disney trademark that has outlived the film more than any other character including Pinocchio. Jiminy Cricket is the anchor of the film, really. He's a catalyzer for a lot of the action, but he is also comic relief in many cases, and the wise know it all in other cases. In some cases he even acts as all 3. Let's remember that he is also the narrator of the film, so in some stances he will speak up and sort of reflect the audience's point of view. A character that acts and works as so many things in a film is truly brilliant.

Pinocchio as the title character is also interesting to study. A lot of people can say that Pinocchio is kind of preachy (which it is), but I think that's a result of the character itself. Because Pinocchio embodies a lot of naivete that I think was present in kids a lot in the 20th century. Pinocchio comes off as very ignorant of the world around him and for good reason. Because here's what I think is interesting: I don't feel like Pinocchio comes off as a preachy film because of what happens to the character when he smokes or drinks or lies. I think it comes off as preachy because all of that happens to him as a result of forfeiting education. He deviates from going to school and that results in him making a lot of misinformed decisions. And the film is very clear in following the classical fantasy story pattern in that matter because it's very clear about the horrible things that happen to you if you don't have a conscience.



On the other hand, the goodness of Gepetto is a contrast to Pinocchio, I think. Because he is an inherently good person, and his actions reflect that because the Fairy is so thankful and appreciative of his good actions that she rewards him with Pinocchio. So it's interesting to see them in a contrasting light. And how ultimately Pinocchio comes to the realization that Gepetto truly deserves better and that drives him to make the brave rescue in the end.


I'll also add that Figaro and Cleo make for STUNNING character design. Their emotion is so clear and so spot on! They are such good sidekicks to Gepetto, even if they only appear for a short period of time in the film. But their design and the use of them in the film is really remarkable and of fantastic emotional weight.


The Design
The design of Pinocchio is something that honestly didn't pop at me until I watched it on bluray. Very much like Snow White, Pinocchio has a style that follows the tradition of classical story books. The warmth in the coloring, the soft, rounded figures all reminisce of classic, kid aimed story books.
That being said, Pinocchio is a lot more refined than Snow White. It is quite evident that Walt had more money and a bigger team working on the film. The detail work is more evident, and the coloring more precise.
There are way too many backgrounds that look straight out of Rembrandt pieces, their light work is _that_ good. The lighting really stands out, honestly, their work is precise and fantastic. There is not one frame that misses the italian warmth of the setting and the story.



Also, all the design work in the toys, in the clocks and Gepetto's shop is flawless. Every clock is beautifully animated, and so detailed and colored to perfection. It is really quite remarkable work, and once again it shows off that Walt had a lot more money and people working on the film.

Special effects by the way, are spectacular. It's ridiculous how good some of them are. Especially the ones done on the Blue Fairy.



The Music
I have to be honest. A lot of the music goes by unremarkably for me. I don't feel like the score is as good as the Snow White score, but there is something special about Pinocchio: When You Wish Upon a Star.
That song became not just one of the most notorious song of its time, but an absolute Disney symbol and a legend. It's a song that puts into words everything that Disney really is about: dreams and fantasy and imagination. Everything about it is special and referent to Disney, and looking back it's no wonder it became a Disney symbol.
I also think it's really special that the song, the biggest song, the one that really talks about the greatest thing Disney wants to put forward, it's a song that goes to the smallest, most humble character in the film. It's not for the lead, it's not for the fairy; it goes to the little bug in the tuxedo. It's quite beautiful and inspiring.
Other than that, I think I've Got No Strings deserves a mention for being such a fun song and for having such a beautifully made performance sequence.



The Digital Restoration
Pinocchio is ridiculously good on bluray. The restoration makes the film look so bright and detailed. Every frame looks stunning. Every part of it looks colorful and sharp, and the film does not look a year old in the transfer. The shadows and the lights are beautifully detailed and there is not one scratch or flaw on it. The movie has NEVER looked better and it probably never will. Stunning work, worth every penny.



 
 
 
rude gus: community » abed's got a gunfancifull on June 4th, 2011 03:17 am (UTC)
I could never decide if I liked this movie or notttttt

I will read this after people stop dying on Titanic lolz
marie_j_granger: Prince Charmingmarie_j_granger on June 4th, 2011 03:33 am (UTC)
Honestly, I've always kind of hated this movie (don't kill me!). I like Jiminy Cricket and the blue fairy, but that was about it.

When You Wish Upon a Star is a good song, but I've always liked Give a Little Whistle best.
Sylwia (sill-vee-uh)unnecessary_ on June 5th, 2011 07:55 am (UTC)
I love this review.

I had no idea this flopped in the box office.

And I love what you have to say about Jiminy because his trademark song is very wonderful and important to me as a Disney fan.