A Disney classic turns 77 years old next month and is looking as fresh as ever on Blu-ray. It’s absolutely timeless, folks.
“Pinocchio” tells the tale of wood-carver Geppetto’s beloved puppet who embarks on a thrilling quest – with faithful friend Jiminy Cricket – that tests his bravery, loyalty and honesty, all virtues he must learn to fulfill his heart’s desire: to become a real boy.
The original story was developed in 1883 and Walt Disney picked it up in 1940 to turn a classic fairy tale into an animated feature. One of Disney’s greatest accomplishments (and the follow-up to a very successful Snow White), winning two oscars and still containing one of the more familiar musical soundtracks in the Disney family, Pinocchio doesn’t wavier in its brilliance. Sure the animated feature strayed ever so slightly from the original story, there aren’t a lot of Disney films that haven’t gone this route, but Pinocchio certainly established Disney as an animated powerhouse, as well as giving a permanent place in film history for animated features. It didn’t hurt that along the way it contained a fantastic set of songs (which won it an Oscar for), some true emotional impact with its story, as well as memorable characters, which included a very tough cricket. In short, the film is remembered for a lot of different reasons.
Aside from awards and famous bugs, the movie also provided some strong morals and wishful thinking. A wooden boy is given a chance to become a real boy if he proves himself worthy. He has to listen to his elders, respect himself, as well as others, and not be selfish. Out of all the movies that Disney has come out with, especially in recent years, this still holds a solid set of moral dilemmas that could still relate to youth today. My kids sat in the living room a few minutes ago and were glued to the set while the movie was playing. That’s how lasting an impact the story has in the film. What’s fascinating about this film, especially in the 40s where becoming being moral in your everyday life was a must, Pinocchio certainly isn’t preachy or steadfast with its rules of life. It wants you to be good, but also says people make mistakes, which is something you don’t really expect from this time period. Being prim, proper and perfect is generally the rules of life in the 40s-50s. But, that’s the charm of Pinocchio. The story knows you’re going to make mistakes, but it’s all about how you recover and hold true to your virtues and morals. Most the garbage that kids watch today isn’t nearly as powerful as what you’ll find in this 88 minute film. You have a strong lead character who is innocent to the world’s evils and is led by a cricket who is just trying to live another day. The message of respecting one’s family (Geppetto), respecting one’s self (see Pleasure island for that reference) and doing what’s right (giving yourself up so that someone else can live to see another day — see Monstro for that) is so elegantly and playfully displayed that you don’t know you’re learning until it’s over. I wish more things like this would subtly find its way into what kids are watching.
Anyway, what I’m getting at with this Disney classic is that everything written for the film still applies in this day and age. It still pushes the message that life isn’t perfect and we’ve just got to roll with our mistakes, while at the same time trying to make someone else’s life better through our own actions. It’s a powerful message that reverberates through time and will be relevant in 70+ years when this movie is re-re-re-released again in a more advanced world that we can’t even imagine. Yes, it’s that powerful.
Movie aside, the treatment of this soon-to-be 77 year old classic is still impressive. I had not anticipated animation looking this sharp on blu-ray. There no flaws in the picture. There are no bits of graininess. There is no indication that this was made for a war-laden audience in 1940. There is no indication of age whatsoever. The colors in this animated classic are brighter and more colorful than I expected out of the transfer. Whatever Disney did to preserve or clean up the film, they really need to keep doing this. Literally, the colors are flawless. The animation is so crisp that you can identify the pencil strokes that the original sketches came in on. This movie looks so good that you would swear it was made in the last decade if you didn’t know better. Add that to the fact the audio was remastered for 7.1 usage and, wow, this is a nice delivery to your Blu-ray player.
On the features side of the tracks, here’s what to expect with this release:
– Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island
– In Walt’s Words – “Pinocchio”
– The Pinocchio Project: “When You Wish Upon a Star”
– Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa”
– Classic Bonus Features
This list might not seem like a lot, but there is plenty here. The features are deep, entertaining and they give you a load of insight into Pinocchio. There are other features not Pinocchio related, but for the most part the majority of the features compliment the film. Certainly a great list to accompany the 77th birthday of Pinocchio.