MILAN – The stories we love and that span entire generations become classics, they remain so thanks to the strength of their messages and that magic that becomes more and more familiar every time we go back to watch them or find them by chance on TV. It often happens, especially with the cartoons that accompanied every child’s childhood. The story of the wooden puppet that came out of Carlo Collodi’s pen is one of them. Pinocchio continues to be one of the most beloved Disney classics since 1940 and now, after more than eighty years, it is back in a new guise available on Disney + directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto.
The story of Pinocchio has inspired many remakes over the years but today, perhaps thanks to an attitude to create live-action after live-action increasingly modern versions of the animations we know, several directors have tried their hand at contemporary, almost author’s versions. . The Pinocchio by Matteo Garrone with a great Roberto Benigni and at the end of the year it will be the turn of the stop-motion adaptation by Guillermo del Toro. But now it’s the turn of Zemeckis, the director of cult like Cast away And Forrest Gump which at the turn of the century revolutionized children’s animation with his own Polar Express. Guarantee of incredible success? More or less. That of the director is a half-way victory, just like for Hanks, fresh from an interpretation that did not convince everyone in Elvis.
The Pinocchio Zemeckis would like to be a live-action, but “live” has very little. The digital is still the master to animate the puppet, the talking cricket, the cat and the fox and also to give a fairy and fairytale air to the most real characters, the human ones. Colors full of life and warmth that now color Geppetto’s shop, now the village and the Land of Toys. Even Monstro, the whale who traps father and son in his stomach and who here looks like everything except a whale, really looks like something out of a fairy tale. But the sets and settings that, after all, manage to transport us to another time and place, are not enough to make up for what is really missing from the film – and which has been lacking by all those who have tried to do it again before.
Above all, what is missing is a valid reason to make a new version. Did we need it? Not particularly, unless the director and producer decided to create something surprisingly different from what we already know. Instead it’s all still here, only with a new dress made of brilliant CGI, more modern dialogue and a fake Italian accent that Hollywood continues undaunted to insert in its films even if it seems only a parody. Zemeckis gets lost in the moments of the story he loves and tries to make us love them too by making us stay there a little longer, but the result is that the film is only half an hour longer and the original magic is perceived only by the ‘shadow.
The message that Collodi had wanted to entrust to his puppet is as simple as it is powerful, otherwise it would not have withstood the test of time. A warning to children to always be themselves because the opinions of their peers are less important than their own personality and conscience. It speaks of growth, of bad choices, of understanding one’s mistakes and of truth. And all of this didn’t really need to put on a new dress to look more appealing to a more modern audience. The Pinocchio by Zemeckis is another meteor in the universe of live-action adaptations that exists in and of itself, with nothing to add or take away from the source material. It is not bad in all respects, but we would have preferred to see more.
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Here the trailer for Pinocchio: