Disney is well aware of the fact that they don’t have to necessarily try to make good movies anymore because they’ll make money regardless, which explains how Tom Hanks must have been inebriated when he accepted the role of Geppetto in the fever dream of 2022’s Pinocchio. Initially released on September 8th, viewers are reintroduced to characters they know and love through a mix of old-school acting and CGI.
We start off with Jiminy Cricket introducing himself as our narrator from the future and having a fourth-wall-breaking conversation with his past self. When Jiminy arrives at Geppetto’s workshop, he finds him finishing Pinocchio. Gepetto goes to bed, wishing on a star before he drifts off. The North Star starts to glow and casts a beam down that hits a bedside picture, reflecting onto Pinocchio, bringing him to life. Jiminy is then appointed his conscience.
When Pinocchio gets sent off to school, he is met by Honest John, who convinces him to forget school and become a famous actor. After selling Pinocchio to Stromboli, Honest John leaves. Pinocchio is then locked in a bird cage, and Jiminy finds him. Pinocchio lies to make his nose grow, so Jiminy can get to the key on the other side of the room. This gives the impression that it’s okay to lie when stuck, and consequences may not follow.
When they escape, Jiminy and Pinocchio get swept up by a carriage for “The Collection,” where they learn they are going to Pleasure Island, a large amusement park, where there are places where they can smash bird houses, shoplift and shoot fireworks at other kids. Pinocchio is playing pool with Lampwick when Jiminy shows up again. They see shadow monsters selling donkeys to the salt mines, and the viewer learns the donkeys were once bad kids, transformed as punishment for their poor behavior.
Once again, they narrowly escape, and when they get back to Geppetto’s workshop, they learn that he sold all his clocks to buy a boat, so he can sail to Pleasure Island. Pinocchio finds his father, but as they reunite, they get swallowed by a sea monster. Finding an abandoned shipwreck, Pinocchio shuffles his feet together and creates a fire inside the sea monster, which is how they escape.
The boat breaks in half, and Geppetto passes out. Pinocchio uses his legs to propel them forward, like the engine of a motorboat. They narrowly escape, again, and wash up on shore. Geppetto isn’t waking up, and the crew thinks he’s died. Pinocchio cries on his chest, begging for him to wake up, and starts to hum “When You Wish Upon a Star.”
A single tear falls from Pinocchio’s eye and onto Geppetto, and he wakes up. The father and puppet hug, and Geppetto tell him that he has done everything he needed to prove he can be a real boy. The movie closes with an ending that is up to interpretation: Did he turn into a human boy or remain a puppet?
This movie’s plot was hard to follow and extremely fast and dynamic. New characters were introduced, never to appear again. Jumping around and relying on fast-pacing works to keep the audience’s attention, but it also makes viewers pause and wonders what just happened.
There were 5 big conflicts, right after another, starting 20 minutes into the movie. It was overstimulating, loud, and messy. As a whole, the movie felt like Disney was further proving the point that they no longer need to try to make decent quality movies, as they have enough of a reputation to be well received, regardless of quality.