(1940/Disney Blu-ray w/DVD)
B+/B- Sound: B-/C+ Extras: B+ Film: B+
a reason the Walt Disney version of Carlo Collodi’s classic Pinocchio (1940) has endured, no matter
how many films and TV shows have tried to do it more “realistically” or tried
to deconstruct the all time Disney hit to begin with. It is no surprise that music video directors
like Steve Barron could not crack it or that it remains the low point of any
career that tried to revive the same material from Roberto Benigni to in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, even
Steven Spielberg. Why?
it proved that Snow White was no
fluke and it is so well-rounded a work that it and MGM’s 1939 Wizard Of Oz permanently established
the Fantasy genre as more than just trickery but a viable A-level genre that
Classical Hollywood’s studio system might not have taken as seriously at the
time, but would eventually be key to their artistic and financial
survival. Some films are just on the
money every moment they play down to every single frame and this is one of
is tight at 88 minutes, but it gets to the point and tells the tale of the
legendary toymaker whose work made endless numbers of children happy in a world
where not enough of that joy exists. Then he builds an amazing boy puppet who
eventually comes to life thanks to a female fairy who wants to reward the man
for all the love he gave. Of course, Pinocchio
needs to be a “good boy” and stay out of trouble, the perfect child wish people
and society always have when they don’t allow drugs and weapons to be sold to
and used by its children.
the politics of that, it becomes a journey about a child’s soul and serves as a
larger metaphor for freedom and being able to be what you want, i.e., can he
become a real human. Is he not “human”
already? How human is human?
has not been explored about this film, as hard as that is to believe, but as it
stands, it is a classic that does not age.
Mel Blanc is among those doing the voices and Jiminy Cricket (voiced by
Cliff Edwards) is a clever intermediary between the audience and characters, a
bridge between the suspension of belief and disbelief in one of the greatest
artistic coups the real Walt Disney ever came up with.
course, the film was a huge hit at the time and continues to be a money machine
for the studio, that is when they allow it to be available. Its historic timing is also amazing. When WWII officially involved the U.S., the
U.S. Government actually set troops to the Disney studios to spies and other
forces of the original Axis powers could not steal or hijack its innovations
for propaganda purposes. The studio did
plenty of WWII propaganda and Mickey Mouse became an Allied mascot.
is something often missed by historians.
Here was a film about hoping for the best against the odds when the
Nazis and Japanese Imperialists were trying to crush the world. The scene of dueling songs in Casablanca is often sighted as the most
ironic moment in Classical Hollywood cinema that reflected the WWII conflict
when no one knew what was going to happen.
However, Pinocchio has as
much importance in that it believes in hope based on dreams in a free society
where anything is possible and progress is rewarded as it should be. In this respect, it turned out to be one of
the most anti-Fascist works in the WWII period defiantly holding out hope in
the face of a darkness that had to end.
Like the communists, the fascists would consider any such tale
(especially as told by Disney) weak & a joke, but this work of art
outlasted all those actual government regimes and shines triumphantly as the
winner ideologically. Pinocchio is rightly a classic and one
with substance it is not always given credit for having.
X 1 1080p digital High Definition image (centered in a 1.78 X 1 frame on the
Blu-ray) is a brand new master from the original film elements and it has much
going for it. You can see the detail,
depth, pencil detail and fluid movement of the film throughout in ways you may
not have before. The image is clean
throughout and cell dust is eliminated as much as possible. Even the DVD looks good, but one thing stops
this from being a total knockout: the color!
It looks good, but is far from the best frames I have seen of the film
and is no match for what it would look like if it were from a print made in
three-strip dye-transfer Technicolor process.
These colors are not that vibrant, even when they have their moments and
it is the one thing that let me down about the release.
HD Master Audio (MA) lossless 48/24 7.1 mix does anything and everything it can
to take the original theatrical monophonic sound (usually RCA’s optical system
in Disney’s case) and does its best to redirectionalize the sound, but it is
hard to fix this for a film that is 70 years old when stereo was only just
being experimented with. The Dolby
Digital 5.1 on the DVD is even thinner, so DTS is the way to go.
include BD Live interactive functions, a feature length audio commentary with Leonard
Maltin, Eric Goldberg & J.B. Kaufman, Geppettos
Then & Now, the terrific No
Strings Attached: The Making Of Pinocchio, trivial, games,
never-before-seen deleted scenes/alternate ending, isolated songs, The Sweatbox, deleted songs, art
galleries and a bonus DVD version of the film.
- Nicholas Sheffo