The lovable Pinocchio is back, this time in live-action form. Yes, the same kind of movie, which involves filming real people with animated characters.

For those unaware of Pinocchio, it is a famous fictional character from a children’s novel, The Adventures of Pinocchio, written in the 1880s by Italian writer Carlo Collodi. As for live-action, these films came into fashion after the success of Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1989), and he calls the shots here as well.

Pinocchio is the story of a boy who was carved by an Italian woodworker Geppetto, in memory of his own deceased son. Geppetto wishes on a star for Pinocchio to be a real boy and, the same night, the Blue Fairy appears and fulfils the wish. The wooden puppet, now living, has to figure out the true meaning of being alive, but Pinocchio turns out to be a mischievous kid, rather than an obedient one. He is distracted easily and so gets kidnapped by a con-artist fox ‘Honest’ John and his cat partner Gideon.

In order to become ‘famous’, Pinocchio is sold to a puppet master, who puts him in a cage after the show is over. Pinocchio manages to escape, but lands up on Pleasure Island, where children are turned into donkeys. Eventually, Pinocchio sails to save his father, but is gulped by Sea Monster Monstro.

The beloved Jiminy Cricket is the third most important character in the movie, after Geppetto and Pinocchio, and acts as Pinocchio’s conscience throughout the 105-minute duration.

Pinocchio’s father, Geppetto, is played by none other than the legendary actor Tom Hanks, known to the young audience as the voice of Toy Story’s Woody. Producer/Director Robert Zemeckis, famous for the animated adventure-comedy The Polar Express (2004), does a stellar job here as well, as he makes the audience both sympathise and disapprove of the character. Teenage sensation Benjamin Evan Ainsworth lends his voice to Pinocchio while actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt is the voice of Jiminy Cricket, the partial narrator of the story.

Disney’s latest live-action remake of one of its animated classics is a tribute to the ‘original’ film. Based on the much-adapted tale by Collodi, the message of Pinocchio remains the same, even for kids like you — one should always obey their parents, listen to their conscience and prove themselves by being ‘brave, truthful and unselfish’ to become what their parents have wished for them.

Published in Dawn, Young World, October 1st, 2022

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