Fresh off the overwhelming success of their first full-length feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney and his staff of animators, writers, artists and composers set out to top themselves with their second film, Pinocchio. And they sure did, as the timeless tale of a little wooden puppet who yearns to be a real boy is generally regarded today as a masterpiece of the medium, one of (if not the) greatest achievements in animation ever put on film.
However, despite the stunningly detailed craftsmanship put into the alarmingly fast (just two years!) making of the picture (not to mention all the Dopey dough put to good use to finance the extravagant production), Pinocchio initially failed at the box office. The blame for this is usually placed on the decrease in foreign revenue due to the encroaching world war, but perhaps the film was ahead of its time, what with its decidedly dark tone and often-nightmarish imagery.
Nevertheless, through several theatrical re-releases and various home video incarnations, Pinocchio has not only become the hit it deserves to be, it has also been unanimously recognized as a cinematic classic. As recent as last year, it was named the second best animated film of all time by the American Film Institute (its immediate predecessor, Snow White, came in first place), in addition to similar honors from other film groups and publications over the years.
With its 70th birthday on the horizon (next year to be exact), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is celebrating with a 2-disc Platinum anniversary editionof Pinocchio, available today in both standard Disney DVD and high definition Disney Blu-ray versions. Richly appointed with all the state of the art bells and whistles the formats provide, these new releases offer a whole new reason to revisit the daring adventures of little woodenhead and company, especially the Blu-ray edition, with all the eye-popping clarity and crisp aural enhancements that high def provides. As Jiminy Cricket himself would say, “What they can’t do these days!”
Click here to continue reading my Toon Talk review of Pinocchio at LaughingPlace.com.