The Adventures of Pinocchio (1996) – Review

2 Stars

No, it’s not Disney’s seminal classic but a live-action update complete with cutting-edge special effects and some genuine movie-magic. Staying closer to the source material than any previous incarnation, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a painstakingly executed children’s film that went virtually un-noticed during its initial theatrical run. Jim Henson’s workshop is responsible for the magnificent title character and the over-all outstanding work onscreen from a visuals standpoint. TMNT Helmer Steve Barron is the man behind the camera and unlike that picture, this film is a delicate, brightly lit, and soft-hearted entertainment designed to engage the entire family.

Puppeteer Geppetto (Martin Landau) finds a special piece of wood in the nearby Forrest. He brings the lumber home and begins to carve his most magnificent creation, a boy figure named Pinocchio (Jonathan Taylor Thomas). The puppet comes to life and becomes a loveable and mischievous little boy. Pinocchio relentlessly searches for a way to become a real boy in a world of rules he doesn’t understand. Along the way, he encounters a talkative cricket who teaches Pinocchio what a miracle really is and helps the puppet achieve his dream-and find his way back to Geppetto.

This film version of Pinocchio is slavishly devoted to its source material and that adherence makes for a slow and sometimes boring movie-going experience. The attention to detail and period setting are well handled, but the flow of the film never gels. The Adventures of Pinocchio is a children’s movie that is likely to bore those under 10. Magnificent computer and practical visual effects are first-rate in a film that is more admirable than entertaining.

Director: Steve Barron
Stars: Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Martin Landau, Udo Kier

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