My opinion right after watching movie
My opinion on the film right after watching it is that it is magical. The characters are stronger here than Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the animation improved, and the plot is coherent and developed enough; though certain plot points come out of nowhere, and the world could have been explained better.
So in 1937, Walt Disney was handed the book of Pinocchio and after he read it, he got inspiration to make it into an animated film, and was intended to be the 3rd film (after Bambi, which kept on getting pushed back) making this film the 2nd film to be released.
Originally, Pinocchio was supposed to be arrogant and rude in the film, but Walt did not like it, and decided to make him into a lovable, nice boy, but he ultimately thought he was too weak and would get ran over in the film by the others, so they created Jiminy Cricket in the summer of 1938.
Speaking of Jiminy, they had pop singer Cliff Edwards to voice him, and had a bunch of older celebrities voice in this film, so this discredits Aladdin being the first animated film to have celebrity voices and to have them market the film, so stop giving that movie and Williams so much credit for pioneering something that was done beforehand. They were gonna have the guy from the Looney Tunes guy Mel Blanc voice Gideon, but they decided to make him silent, deleting all of his monologue.
Also, they Rotoscoped in this film, and used it like how they would use it in Cinderella, though not for the entire film.
So the movie opens with Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) singing the iconic When You Wish Upon A Star, and introducing us to the story about a man named Gepetto (Christian Rub), and we are taken into the world where we see run down Jiminy sneak into the house for warmth and sees Gepetto making a wooden marionette. After the marionette is finished, he celebrates with his cat Figaro and his fish Cleo.
So everybody is going to bed, but Gepetto prays that he wishes Pinocchio (Dickie Jones) was a real boy, so he can have company that is a human. So he goes to sleep, and the Blue Fairy (Evelyn Venable) shows up. She grants Gepetto his wish, because he is always helping others but barely gets anything in return, and our protagonist debuts as a blank slate. The Fairy tells him that in order to permanently be a real boy, he must prove to be brave, truthful, and unselfish. She dubs the human fetish-ed Jiminy to be his conscience as well.
Gepetto wakes up to realize that the fairy granted his wish, and is overjoyed and they ultimately bond. So in the next morning, Gepetto tells Pinocchio what school is, and why he needs to go there. Wait, I forgot, Jiminy sings Give A Little Whistle for Pinocchio to do whenever he needs help, really working the celebrity power they have.
So after Gepetto lets him walk by himself (HE NEVER WENT TO SCHOOL BEFORE, REALLY GEPETTO?) the TRUE antagonists of the film; fox Honest John (Walter Catlett) and cat Gideon. They are looking for a con so they can get a paycheck, and they do this by selling off Pinocchio to Stromboli (Charles Judels).
Jiminy realizes where Pinocchio is going, but follows him instead of telling his father because that is snitching -_-. So Pinocchio performs I’ve Got No Strings to his crowd, and they love him. We get signs of Stromboli’s abusiveness when Pin screws up, but laughs it off when the audience loves it.
So Stromboli is counting the amount of money he got and when Pinocchio says he will return in the morning, he gets mad and throws the marionette in a cage, saying that he will use him to make his riches off of, and then he will chop him into firewood when he is too old.
So after Jiminy leaves, he suddenly comes back and tries to save Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy pops up and when Pinocchio gets a chance to tell the truth, he lies his ass off, causing his wooden nose to grow long and become a home for eggs. She knows he is lying, but she saves him, giving him a warning and that this is the last time she can help him.
They escape and when Pinocchio promises to do good and to go to school, the con animals come to take him to pleasure Island. They made a deal with Coachman (Charles Judels) to turn boys into donkeys and sell them off to do whatever. Jiminy follows him, and Pin is with a bunch of boys who thinks they are gonna have a blast. After an argument with Jiminy (who leaves AGAIN), Pinocchio smokes and drinks, but the boy he is hanging with is turning into a donkey, and Pin is turning into one a lot slower than all the boys are.
So they return home to find that no one is there, and they get a message from a dove that him and his pets were swallowed by a whale.
Anyways, so they go in the ocean to find them and they find them but Gepetto is ready to die for him and tells him to go on, and they eventually exit the whale, whom wants to kill them. Eventually, Pinocchio is killed by a bunch of rocks and waves (but he can turn his head). Gepetto takes him to the house and is extremely sad, but the Fairy brought him back to life because he was truthful, brave, and unselfish. They eventually reunite, and they have a party. The Fairy makes Jiminy a badge which signals he is a conscience.
The characters here are pretty good. While some of them have their bland moments, they are still defined and work off well together. The ones that are bad are gruesome as heck, and the ones that are good and confused are good and confused. You will get invested in these characters.
The animation has definitely improved, thanks to the huge success of its predecessor, earning a bigger budget with the film. The backgrounds are as detailed and colorful as the previous film, the character designs are bold and lovely, and the movements are PERFECT. It is the second most beautiful film in the Golden Era (I think you all know which one is the best). Perfect colour scheme and everything.
The music is similar to the one in Snow White, but it does sound more 1940’s than classical. When You Wish Upon A Star is the main song, and it establishes the theme of the movie, and it is brilliant. I’ve Got No Strings is a cute song, and it kind of establishes Pinocchio’s character for a good amount of the film, as he has no strings and is free. The other songs are decent, but not really that important.
Reception at Release
When the film was released on February 7th 1940, it was critically praised and the audiences liked it as well, and it was seen as better as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It won 2 Oscars for Best Song and Best Score (the song for the Disney theme song When You Wish Upon A Star). The public saw it as a hit, but monetary wise, it was not.
Pinocchio flopped in theaters, with its $2.2 million budget, it only made back about 1.7 million dollars at the end of release. The budget and production of this film was a lot higher than it was for Snow White. The flop as not because people did not see it was because WW2 cut off the European market. Apparently, Disney as really depressed about the failure of the film.
The reception has increased more and more since soon after it was released. Now, many critics see it as one of Disney’s best, and the most perfectly (technology-wise) animated film by Disney. It is constantly on many critics and audiences Top so and so lists, and it is deemed one of the best Disney Classics. It made back its budget soon after WW2 ended, and has been re-released many times. It is seen to many to be the Magnum Opus of the Golden Age, or of Walt’s work.
Story = 7.5/10
Characters = 8/10
Music = 8/10
Animation = 9/10