Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Capsule Review: Pinocchio (1940)

A surprisingly dark adaptation of The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, Disney's second feature length animated film is every bit as memorable as Snow White. Far from the sanitized fantasy stories that would typify Disney films over the following decades, Pinocchio has a number of nightmarish sequences - particularly the scenes on Pleasure Island featuring children being turned into donkeys (who never end up being rescued), and the famous encounter with Monstro the whale. Modern audiences may feel a bit uncomfortable with the odd (and certainly unintentional) undercurrent of child abuse, but there's no denying that even at this early stage Disney had found a magic formula for creating truly memorable images, combined with absolutely delightful music. Some of the rotoscoped animation looks a bit dodgy, and it takes some time to get going, but there's simply too much goodness here to ignore.


J.T. said...

Getting my kid to sit still through the more intense scenes in Pinoccio was quite the parenting challenge.

I don't know what Disney monster cost me the most in cheer up ice cream cones: Monstro or Maleficent's dragon incarnation.

Doug Tilley said...

Monstro is bad-ass, and I could see my child self being really freaked out by it.. But it's the kids being turned into donkeys, who are then basically robbed of the ability to speak and then sold, that would leave me permanently traumatized.