Movie Reviews

DVD Review: “Pinocchio (70th Anniversary Platinum Edition)”

(Disney. 1940/2009. 75 minutes. Rated G. 3 Discs. Various directors. Songs by Ned Washington and Leigh Harline.)

Walt Disney’s second animated film, after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, is just as delightful. (Hey, they’re a year early on the 70th anniversary thing, but who’s counting?) Hand-drawn animation (750 people worked on the film) and state-of-the-art camera work is simply gorgeous in an all-new digital restoration and 5.1 Dolby sound. My review copy contains the feature film and a second disc of extras in Blu-ray format, plus a third disc with the movie in standard DVD (the studio did this last year for Sleeping Beauty). So you, Baby Boomer, can relive your childhood in high definition and give the other copy to the kids to watch in their room 30 or 40 times.

The puppet who must prove he’s worthy of being a real boy dates from a series of newspaper stories from 19th-century Florence. The Disney version has Pinocchio, his “father” puppetmaker Geppetto, Figaro the cat, Cleo the goldfish, and the Blue Fairy, plus a rogues’ gallery of unsavory characters. Then there’s the real star of the show, Pinocchio’s “conscience,” the strutting, wisecracking Jiminy Cricket, who became one of Disney’s signature characters. Don’t forget the Oscar-winning theme song “When You Wish Upon A Star.” The climactic scene with Monstro the whale is still scary and amazing. Bonus features include all-new commentary by Leonard Maltin and other experts, sing-along option (as lyrics appear on the screen), making-of featurettes, deleted scenes and songs, an alternate ending, art galleries, a trivia challenge, and much more. (Trivia: Figaro, mute in the finished film, originally had lines voiced by Mel Blanc, who later gained eternal fame as the voice of Bugs Bunny and other Warner Bros. characters.) A welcome re-release.

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