No, Zemeckis’ Pinocchio isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be.


Premiere in Disney+ from Pinocchio, the latest of the Disney cartoon remakes, presents on a golden platter the opportunity to make firewood from a supposed fallen tree. Directed by Robert Zemeckis, responsible for the trilogy. Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Forrest Gump or Throwing awayindeed represents one of the weakest titles, but by no means without interest.

The film is closely related to the Disney adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s story, already clearly toned down but with unsettling moments. And in it, Zemeckis manages to penetrate what has been one of his main preoccupations as an image maker: the integration of digital images (here materialized in a wooden child, but also in almost all of the film’s mediums and settings) with elements and real actors. In this sense Pinocchio a sufficient film is revealed, although perhaps less advanced than other precedents in his filmography such as Polar Express, Beowulf or Chrismas story (almost all of them, by the way, are underestimated to some extent) despite the superiority of some passages (the whale’s imitation of water in its section is surprisingly neglected, not so much).

Zemeckis, like many other veteran writers who made it big in the 80s and 90s, is now navigating a very different industry than when he had his first hits. Only Steven Spielberg, in whose shadow he took his first steps with enough black comedies like Broken brakes, crazy cars or script 1941seems to remain more or less unaffected by the changing tastes of a public increasingly enticed by commercial franchises. The paradox is that he and other filmmakers probably laid the first stones on the path that Hollywood is now taking with a mixture of horror and uncertainty.

The uncertainty that manifests itself in the fact that such a blockbuster as Pinocchio premieres via streaming (as a gift to subscribers on what’s called “Disney Day” and not in theaters, despite the fact that its production featured regular Zemeckis front-row staffers such as director of photography Don Burgess, musician Alan Silvestri and, of course same, actor Tom Hanks, acting here as an episodic Geppetto.

all in Pinocchio reveals some lack of power and cinematic weight needed to convince viewers and critics that this new remake – a hateful word for defending or debasing a film – is “necessary”. Zemeckis’ work doesn’t achieve that, but it’s fair to argue many points that the director’s fans will be no stranger to them. First, the hidden “kitsch” breath that is applied to the factory’s most whitish postulates, in this case the postulate of racial diversity, which, at the same time that it fulfills the file, lends a subtle, very subtle air of irony. to this new normal (represented primarily by the presence of Cynthia Erivo as a magical fairy). And, secondly, how much, how much it resembles the presence of a clock in Geppetto’s workshop at the beginning Return to the future, as well as parallels between the relationship of little Pinocchio with his biological father? and the one backed by Marty McFlay and Doc Brown in Zemeckis’ acclaimed time travel trilogy. Everything in Zemeckis’s cinema, striving for technical perfection, deals with a certain idea of ​​the transcendence and at the same time the emptiness of the human being.

Probably riveted by the need to stick to the original animated film, but at the same time seduced by its visual possibilities (no one seems to pay attention to the director’s planning of dialogue scenes), Zemeckis creates an entertaining, unassuming film that, in its balance between respect for morality and some alien sentimentality with a desire for blackness, demonstrates his abilities as a storyteller. Pinocchio He also does not find problems that would be appropriate in this well-entered 21st century and blessed Metaverse, in need of truths and his own identity, like the child himself, becoming a “real” creature of flesh and blood, like a kind of wooden android trying to cash in on flesh and blood … (the ambiguous ending, although disappointing, nevertheless gives new meaning to this thesis). Pulling this puppet string means that no, this real/digital remake is not at all as useless and terrible as it is painted.


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