At the heart of the original golden age of animated films came Disney’s take on the Italian folklore tale Pinocchio. One of the original feature length animated films it tells the story of the young, naÃ¯ve sometimes bad puppet created by his ˜father’ Geppetto. Taking our young hero and his honourable and caring guardian angel Jiminy Cricket on an adventure that sees him turned into a donkey, swallowed by a whale and eventually getting his wish of becoming a real boy.
A lot of charm is the exhilaration on not knowing where the story is going. There’s even a sense that the hand-drawn animators (made pre-computer wizardry) weren’t 100% sure of where they were going and just allowed their imaginations paint the way. Through our small innocent protagonist we experience the joy or rebellion, the horror or betrayal and the final act of kindness and understanding.
There are so few animated films that so effectively encapsulate the truth of childhood in such a beautiful manner and it is this that drives Pinocchio well above other classics like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Dumbo. Pinocchio himself is nothing special (other than being an animated puppet) showing bravery only when absolutely necessary and otherwise falling into the same traps of childhood that so many children have. Yet it is these engaging, recognisable characteristics that makes him one of Disney’s greatest creations. He doesn’t have to worry about complex ideas like ˜falling in love’ or grief at the loss of loved one. His journey is pure and unsullied by adult problems, which is oddly a rarity in animated children’s films. He is a kid, he behaves like a kid and he learns his lessons through his own shortcomings, like a kid.
Broken into narrative set-piece sections, Pinocchio shows an escalating series of tragic mistakes as the wooden puppets rogue’s gallery swells to include some of the nastiest and impressively scary villains in Disney’s arsenal. He is constantly in peril or kidnap, abuse, transformation and eventually destruction
It really is as spectacular, awe-inspiring, engrossing, sweet-natured and terrifying as it was on release and for children of a certain age it remains every bit as impacting. Years after its release Pinocchio remains one of the most recognisable and popular animated films from arguably the most popular and successful animation houses. Pinocchio offers pure unadulterated animated bliss with a huge serving of that indefinable Disney magic.