The Best & Worst of ‘Pinocchio’s’ Adventures

PINOCCHIO, from left: Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio, 1940
Walt Disney Co./Everett Collection

While Pinocchio is known as the little wooden boy in the Disney classic, the fictional character’s history actually dates back to the children’s novel The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1883. In 1940, Disney spun the idea into a children’s animated film and remains the most well-known version. Since then there have been numerous adaptations both in film and TV, there is even thought he inspired Rudolph! Some of the most notable TV versions of the beloved classic include the 1957 version starring Mickey Rooney and the 1968 TV movie starring Peter Noone, but the 1976 version with Sandy Duncan and Danny Kaye won two Emmys and remains a classic.

PINOCCHIO, Sandy Duncan, Danny Kaye, 1976

Everett Collection

Of course, as many classic films have been made into revivals in recent years, Pinocchio was no exception. Two new revivals came out in 2022… one received a highly-coveted Oscar award while the other won a Razzie for the Worst Remake, Rip-Off, or Sequel.

Let’s start with the Oscar-winning version. Famed writer and director Guillermo del Toro created the new animated version of Pinocchio and won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature beating out one of the newest Disney films Turning Red. The film is a darker version of the classic, set in Italy in the 1930s during the Fascist reign of Benito Mussolini (you’ll want a tissue box for this one). The stop-motion animations created some stunning visuals that earned the reimagination an Oscar.

“I’ve got no strings to hold me down…”

GUILLERMO DEL TORO'S PINOCCHIO, (aka PINOCCHIO), from left: Geppetto (voice: David Bradley), Pinocchio (voice: Gregory Mann), 2022

Netflix/Everett Collection

On the other hand, Disney’s 2022 version of Pinocchio starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto was not as well received. It earned a Razzie, the award that showcases the worst of the worst films and actors of the year. The PG live-action film directed by Robert Zemeckis features songs from the original animated Disney film as well as some new tunes. It had all the makings of a lovely live-action remake but ultimately critics and fans didn’t like this one.

PINOCCHIO, Tom Hanks as Geppetto, 2022

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/Everett Collection

On Rotten Tomatoes the film currently has a score of around 28% and one critic wrote, “Visually dazzling but soulless, the largely inert Pinocchio reaffirms that you should always let your conscience be your guide… away from unnecessary remakes.” Disney has been in the business of doing live-action remakes from animated classics in recent years such as Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. Some are great but some don’t hold up and unfortunately, Pinocchio seems to be in the latter category.

What’s your favorite Pinocchio adaptation? Let us know in the comments!

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August 2021

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