FAN EFFECT REVIEW: Disney’s latest version of ‘Pinocchio’ is a nostalgic dose of CGI magic

Sep 8, 2022, 2:48 PM | Updated: Sep 9, 2022, 3:20 pm
Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in Disney's live-action PINOCCHIO, exclusively on Dis...
Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) in Disney's live-action PINOCCHIO, exclusively on Disney+. (Disney Enterprises, Inc)
(Disney Enterprises, Inc)

This is an editorial piece. Like a news article, an editorial is based on facts and shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — The adventures of a little wooden boy have captured the imaginations of audiences worldwide for generations ever since the newspaper debut of “The Adventures of Pinocchio” by Italian author Carlo Collodi in 1881. But none of the subsequent imaginative retellings of Pinocchio has left a greater imprint on most people’s hearts than the 1940 Walt Disney Productions animated musical fantasy “Pinocchio.”

The film was a hit from the start, winning two academy awards and introducing the now iconic song “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Now, some 82 years later, Disney debuts a new(ish) version of the classic, this time with a nostalgic dose of CGI magic and a deeper focus on Pinocchio’s father figure Geppetto, played by none other than Tom Hanks.

This latest Pinocchio is now available to stream only on Disney+ as part of their Disney+ Day celebrating the properties of the platform.

Most of Disney’s film offerings have had traditional theatrical releases, but technology and audience preferences have allowed for more direct-to-consumer releases by home streaming, which sadly often limits the quality of the program.

The question for many potential viewers is if the streaming film is worth watching Pinocchio

My answer is sure, if you want a shot of Disney nostalgia and enjoy CGI wonder. But it’s not a life-changing adaptation.

Disney Plus's 2022 live-action adaption of "Pinocchio" poster.

DisneyPlus’ 2022 live-action adaption of “Pinocchio” poster. Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) and Tom Hanks as Geppetto. Photo Courtesy of Disney Enterprises, Inc.

“Pinocchio” follows the much-worn plot of a wooden boy, created by the hands and wishes of a lonely creator, who embarks on an effort to become a real flesh-and-bone boy. The puppet takes on a colorful world of characters and locations with his naive and newly-painted eyes.

Along the way, Pinocchio (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) meets a patchwork of interesting characters and temptations; from Honest John’s (voiced by comedian Keegan-Michael Key) argument that being famous is better than being educated, to the alluring call of gluttony over control from the Pleasure Island’s Coachman (Luke Evans).

But Pinocchio is not left to fight temptation himself. He is guided by his father Geppetto, given direction from The Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo), and mentored by his dedicated external conscience Jiminy Cricket (astoundingly and expertly voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt).

What’s new?

There are some new plot points and characters to keep track of, including a talking seagull named Sofia (voiced by Lorraine Bracco) and an earnest puppeteer named Sabina (Jaquita Ta’le).

While the film is called a “live-action” adaptation, frankly it is more computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation mixed with live-actor performances. Even the feel of the sets, props, characters, and costumes is very colorful and animated, which could be distracting. The animation style is a blend of realistic and fanciful. It pays homage to the classic looks and details of the 1940 film.

Tom Hanks as Geppetto adds a fatherly warmth and heart. This is  particularly notable as he plays off mostly animated characters. Additional scores and Broadway-styled songs and choreography supplement the original music. The producers scattered updated humor and Disney-fuelled easter eggs throughout, gaining quite a few chuckles.

The movie drags at times, with a run time of 1 hour and 45minutes. But nostalgia can help viewers overcome that hurdle.

Rated PG, but family-friendly for most households

Rated PG for peril/scary moments, rude material, and some language, the film is family-friendly for most households. The most problematic ‘scares’ for younger viewers might be the appearance of Monstro, the whale-like sea monster. Or, the villainous showman Stromboli (Giuseppe Battiston).

For parents worried about some of the behavior found on Pleasure Island in the original film, there is no need to worry about childhood alcohol and tobacco use. Disney finds different ways for the kids to make an ‘ass’ of themselves.

As a moral tale, the film could be a great springboard for parent-guided conversations. The topics could include peer pressure, identifying dangerous strangers, choice and accountability, the importance of communication, and more.

“Pinocchio” gives a modern touch to the animated classic. It offers CGI-infused magic and a handful of updated plot points and a diversity of players. There is a reason the new film is debuting on streaming on a day that celebrates the existing Disney fandom; the producers made it for existing fans. So if you approach the movie with that in mind and appreciate you are not paying for a ticket in a movie theater auditorium, you can enjoy this imaginative re-telling from the comfort of your own home.

Beyond Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Gaming and Tech, the brains behind Fan Effect are connoisseurs of categories surpassing the nerdy. Listen regularly on your favorite platform, at kslnewsradio.com, or on the KSL App. Join the conversation on Facebook @FanEffectShow, Instagram @FanEffectShow, and Twitter @FanEffectShow. Fan Effect is sponsored by Megaplex Theatres, Utah’s premiere movie entertainment company.

Today’s Top Stories


Actor Conor Leslie with her newly adopted dog, Delores at the FanX convention that was held Sept. 2...
Amie Schaeffer

DC Universe star finds fur-ever friend at SLC FanX convention

Ruff Patch Rescue is a nonprofit that helps adopt out animals that need a little extra TLC. The organization recently set up at FanX.
20 hours ago
Netflix gaming...
Catherine Thorbecke, CNN Business

Netflix to open its own video game studio as part of gaming pivot

The streaming giant is building its first in-house video game studio in Helsinki, Finland, as it expands its empire over mobile games.
20 hours ago
hurricane ian florida...
Forrest Brown, CNN

Status of Florida theme parks, cruise ships and more as Ian approaches

Floridians are keeping an anxious eye on Hurricane Ian, including the operators of Florida's popular theme parks.
2 days ago
(Photo courtesy of Salt_Verse on Twitter)...
Rachel Metz, CNN Business

This guy is using AI to make movies — and you can help decide what happens next

"Salt" resembles many science-fiction films from the '70s and early '80s. The way it was created points to what could be a new frontier for making movies.
4 days ago
BYU Student on Survivor...
Kate Davis

BYU student and youngest-ever Survivor contestant says he’s confident he will win

BYU Student and youngest-ever Survivor contestant, Sami Layadi, says he is confident he will win this season of the series
6 days ago
Cars get ready to race at Wings and Wheels...
Samantha Herrera

Wings and Wheels Festival coming to Spanish Fork

The Wings and Wheels Festival in Spanish Fork will provide all-day entertainment to attendees on both the ground and sky.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
FAN EFFECT REVIEW: Disney’s latest version of ‘Pinocchio’ is a nostalgic dose of CGI magic