HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Pinocchio: Signature Collection
HTS Overall Score:90
Uggggg! Has it really been 8 years since “Pinocchio” came out on Blu-ray? I can still remember my excited as I raced to Walmart at 11:50 at night to make the midnight release (my Walmart would stock new titles at 12:01 on the nose) like a child waiting for that next issue of his favorite comic book. Then on the way home ripping off the packaging and staring at the awesome flip cover slip and the art work contained within. “Pinocchio” has long been one of my favorite Golden Age Disney films and for good reason. It’s a morality tale mixed with children’s humor and a darker edge that can appeal to kids and adults equally. In fact, I think it’s one of the most blatantly dark classic Disney films besides “Snow White”. A cautionary tale about lying, rebellion and ultimately self-sacrifice to save the ones we love. For those of you not in the know, Disney animated films tend to be put away for 7 years in the Disney “vault”, after being released on the open market for a year or so. “Pinocchio” came to Blu-ray with a fantastic Platinum edition release back in 2009 and subsequently went out of print a few years later. Now it’s been re-released in the new Signature line, complete with new cover art, new special features, and for the first time, a digital copy.
Geppetto (Christian Rub) is a lonely old woodcarver who has lived a life without wife and child (or at least can assume he never married at least). One night while finishing up a wooden marionette Geppetto wishes upon a star (where one of the most iconic Disney songs comes from) and wistfully wishes for a boy. Upon waking up the next morning the shocked woodcarver finds out that the mysterious blue fairy has partially granted his request and brought the marionette to life. Overjoyed and completely beside himself, Geppetto names the marionette Pinocchio. The Blue Fairy warns Geppetto and Pinocchio that the lifelike doll is only just reanimated and that he won’t become a real boy until he proves himself through honesty and self-sacrifice. Commissioning a talking cricket by the name of Jiminiy (voiced by Cliff Edwards) as Pinocchio’s conscience, the Fairy leaves the trio alone and gives the puppet time to prove himself.
Now Pinocchio was never an evil little thing. We all know that he messes up, but he starts out on the right path. Following his father’s advice, Pinocchio heads off to school and plans to prove himself to both his father and the blue fairy. The only thing is that the path to righteousness is a rough one indeed. One fraught with peril and trials galore. On his way to school for the very first day of his life, Pinocchio is taken upon by two conmen (voiced by Mel Blanc and Walter Catlett) who lie to the boy and get him in some serious hot water in the form of being sold off to a roving entertainer named Stromboli. With the help of the blue fairy Pinocchio is able to escape, and with her warning in his head the puppet heads out to do right once more. However, temptation never rests, and soon the marionette is transported to a twisted place called “pleasure island”, where greedy youths are given everything their hearts desire. With the only side effect being that these gluttonous youths are turned into donkeys after staying too long and used as slaves. With a little more help and a human sense of terror, Pinocchio runs as fast as he can out of there only to find out that Geppetto is in trouble. After he couldn’t find his precious boy, the woodcarver had set out in hopes of finding him, only to be swallowed by a giant whale. Now Pinocchio has to put aside his childish vices and do what he can to save the very may who brought him into this world before it’s too late.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89578[/img]If you look back throughout Disney history, the early days where Walt would take Grimms Fairy tales and the like to craft his initial tales you can see a pattern of darkness and complexity. Sure, the films were fun and whimsical, with cute songs and fantastic side characters (Disney is legendary for their side characters). But these older classics were also morality tales that had a dark edge to them that would be considered PG in this day and age (if “Frozen” can be considered PG then there’s no doubt “Pinocchio” or “Snow White” wouldn’t be either), and focused on showing moral lessons and the like. “Pinocchio” is ripe with lessons on smoking, obeying your elders, not minding your surroundings, talking to strangers, being selfish, greedy, gluttony, and all sorts of other vices that everyone struggles with on a daily basis. To say that this is a complex film is an understatement. Despite the child like nature of the songs, the pretty colors and the name “Disney”, “Pinocchio” has a lot of meat to chew on and caters to both an adult and childish audience with deft ease.
While you might be wondering just how adult the film is, I would put your minds at ease. Even though there is a lot of serious information to chew through, “Pinocchio” is not so dark as to scare young children (unless they’re truly frightened very easily) and the whimsical songs and inclusion of Jiminy Cricket will make even the youngest one of the family giggle with glee. Combined with some incredible animation for the time and some of the most memorable songs in all of Disney history, “Pinocchio” is one of the highest rated classic animated films of all time for a reason. It just works on every level that it ascribes too and does so even in today’s modern era of CGI wizardry.
Rated G for General Audiences
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89586[/img]There was some controversy about “Pinnochio” and its restoration back in 2009, with people complaining about the colors not being exactly like the original cells and a few other abnormalities, but I was one of the people who found it absolutely incredible to look at. The colors have been revitalized and retouched up and the fine detail is still immaculate as always. There’s a healthy layer of grain over the whole image and there seems to be little to no DNR applied to the master. Even though the colors have been tweaked, the image never appears unnatural or too “modern”. They are vibrant and punchy without feeling out of place or visibly “changed” unless you’re intimately familiar with the look of the film from some of the older releases. The hand painted drawings and backgrounds look AMAZING and there is nothing that I can visibly see that would have me rate this as anything less than a 5/5 rating.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=89594[/img]The weakest point in the release is the 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that Disney has re-used for this release. I can never be certain whether it is source limitations, or whether there was something funky in the mix, but I can’t for the life of me believe that with all the restoration and hard work that went into the video encode would lead to sloppy audio mixing. I can only surmise that this is the best we can hear from the limited source materials at our disposal. The vocals are crisp and clear, but sometimes sound a bit stuffy, and there’s a tinny sound to some of the effects that comes and goes. LFE is inconsistent and is overly powerful in one scene only to be slightly anemic the next. The front heavy feeling of the old movie seems out of place with a 7.1 mix, and as such the surrounds can be a bit light at times. Still, no matter the flaws, it is a huge increase from my old Gold Edition DVD from back in the day and should satisfy most viewers quite easily.
• The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon A Star
- The Project
- The Video
• Walt's Story Meetings: Pleasure Island
• In Walt's Words – Pinocchio
• Oswald The Lucky Rabbit In "Poor Papa"
• Song Selection
• Audio Commentary By Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg, and J.B. Kaufman
Classic Bonus Content
• No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio
• Deleted Scenes
• The Sweatbox
• Geppetto's Then and Now
• Live-Action Reference Footage
• Publicity (Trailers)
• When You Wish Upon A Star Music Video by Meaghan Jette Martin
• A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio
• Storyboard-To-Film Final Comparison
I can’t really recommend “Pinocchio” enough to you guys. Even though it’s been around for decades and decades people are still being introduced to this timeless classic and Disney has brought it out of the vault with a very nice package. Audio and video wise it’s the same transfer from 2009 (which is in no way a bad thing), but the extras package has been tweaked just a bit to include some new features for the first time as well as trim some from the original 2009 release. For those who are wondering if it’s worth an upgrade from the Platinum Edition Blu-ray I would have to say “it depends”. If you really really must have the Digital Copy and new extras than by all means snag away, but for those who are just looking for the best audio/video release on the market it’s not worth it since they both contain the same encodes and audio mixes found on the previous release. Naturally it’s a must own for someone who doesn’t own the film, as the Platinum Edition is out of print and this one will go back in the vault within a year or so. Whether you want to upgrade your old DVD or Blu-ray or collect this classic film for the first time, the Signature edition release is well worth the small expenditure. Highly Recommended.
Starring: Dickie Jones, Christian Rub, Mel Blanc
Directed by: Hamilton Luske, Ben Sharpsteen
Written by: Carol Collodi, Ten Sears
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DD Mono, French DTS-HD HR 7.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 88 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Buy Pinocchio: Signature Collection On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Highly Recommended
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