Disney's Pinocchio (1940) Review
I'm kind of shocked to realize how much about this movie I had forgotten over the years, as it's not one I went out of my way to rewatch. It really did feel like I was watching this for the very first time, even though I know that's not the case. So, after all this time, how does the movie fair?
Pretty well, and in a lot of ways I think it aged better than Snow White. The visuals are consistently fun and creative throughout, and while the characters are still basic they have a bit more life and depth to them then in Snow White. That said, it is still the early days of Disney so you shouldn't expect a whole lot of depth, just a nice simple story about a puppet trying to learn to be a real boy.
The first thing that kind of shook me is the thing most people remember about this movie is his nose growing when he tells a lie, but this only happens once in the entire show. Honestly even the whale bit, another memorable moment, is a very small portion of the film. Rather than being one long story, the movie is essentially three separate events that slowly teach Pinocchio how to be a real boy, which leaves very little to discuss on the plot.
It also leaves a lot of strange things unresolved. There exists in this movie a group that effectively captures children and forces them into a lifetime of servitude and once Pinocchio escapes it's just... never brought up again. I'm not gonna lie, this isn't going to stop bothering me for a while. I know that the whole point of all this is to teach Pinocchio to be a good boy, but none of the villains of the show ever get their retribution or even a resolution, they just exist out there doing evil stuff to this day I guess.
I briefly brought this up earlier, but the visuals are great in this movie. All the different clocks which not only look great but show off the kind of person Geppeto, Pinocchio's father, is. There are a lot of great visual gags throughout, and a big variety of characters to see. The movie is so vibrant and colorful, but at the same time can create a very dark atmosphere when things get serious. The Whale Monstro really does look creepy the first time you see him, and he is pretty terrifying to see in motion.
That said I do still find myself enjoying this movie. It's a good lesson for the kids, try to be a good kid. I like that while Jimminy is the conscience even he gets frustrated and gives up early sometimes. It's not a movie about having to be perfect, but one of always trying your best to be a good person. I still don't think it's a great movie, but I do appreciate it more now than when I saw it as a kid.