This retelling of the classic fairy tale boasts an impressive mix of CGI animation and live actors and settings, but the final product feels a little jumbled.
Like its many predecessors, this retelling of Pinocchio looks and feels dark in places and could potentially frighten younger viewers. It could also confuse them at points. A full 15-minute intro of Hanks' old man Geppetto talking to his animals and "oddments" in his studio comes across as theatrical and slightly meandering, and it's very different in tone from much of the rest of the action-packed story.
Of course, the scene showcases the character and the actor, who is as genuine as always. When he hesitates to send his wooden boy out into the world, holding tight to his tiny gloved hand and fighting back tears, Hanks is surprisingly moving as an animated co-star.
It's always hard to justify setting a film in one country but hiring actors from others to play key roles, as the main cast here has been asked to do in the Italy-set Pinocchio. Accents are all over the place, and some linguistic humor, including use of words like "pedagogy," "flaneur," and "charcuterie," could fly over some heads.
Erivo is stunning in her sole scene as the Blue Fairy, starring in one of several memorable musical numbers. Another involves Pinocchio dancing on stage with marionette puppets.
Director Zemeckis and team have dropped in some self-congratulatory references, from cuckoo clock characters from other films to inside jokes about actors and agents. These could land differently for different audiences, perhaps like this remake as a whole.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.
Images courtesy of Disney+.