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MOVIE | Live-action detail and Tom Hanks’ portrayal of a grieving father add richness to a children’s tale


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Rated PG
➤ Disney+
➤ S1 / V3 / L2*

Eighty-two years after releasing its animated classic Pinocchio, Walt Disney Pictures has produced a new live-action version of the famous tale. Many critics and audiences have given the new film poor reviews, but their ire is misplaced.

Tom Hanks stars as Geppetto the woodcarver, whose workshop draws the attention of a wandering, “ne’re do well” cricket. Geppetto is lonely, having lost his dear son, whose picture inspires him to create a puppet of pine, whom he names “Pine-occhio.”

Having “wished upon a star” before retiring to bed, the woodcarver sleeps right through the visit of the blue fairy (Cynthia Erivo), who brings Pinocchio to life and tells him that to become a real boy, he must learn to choose right from wrong as he passes an ordeal. The blue fairy appoints Jiminy Cricket as the puppet’s conscience.

Pinocchio really does want to make the right choices, but he is so naïve that he wanders far from home, and far from the right paths, despite Jiminy Cricket’s attempts to guide him. Geppetto pursues his wayward son all the way, never giving up on his dream to have a real family again.

While viewers may not like changes from the 1940 film, they might not know that the animated movie took far more significant liberties with its 1880s source material. For example, in the 19th-century tale, Pinocchio accidentally kills Jiminy Cricket after the insect tries to teach him about right and wrong!

Tom Hanks’ portrayal of a grieving father is much fuller than the Geppetto of the animated version, and the live-action detail and beauty of the film is richer than that of the old classic. Some scenes, however, may be frightening for younger children.

*Ratings from kids-in-mind.com, with quantity of sexual (S), violent (V), and foul-language (L) content on a 0-10 scale, with 10 high

Marty VanDriel Marty is a TV and film critic for WORLD. He is a graduate of World Journalism Institute and CEO of a custom truck and trailer building company. He and his wife, Faith, reside in Lynden, Wash., near children and grandchildren.


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