Pinnochio On DVDWilliam Gadea 03.17.2009
Pinnochio has recently been released on DVD. It had been the only one of the Disney classics that I hadn’t seen as an adult — the company has an annoying practice of locking away their animated films for years at a time so that the reissue can be an event. I suppose it works… I’m writing a blog post about it, aren’t I?
According to Michael Barrier’s bio of Walt Disney, Pinnochio was a troubled production from the start. Disney was distracted by other projects, indecisive, and ambivalent about the story: he wanted to warm up the character of Pinnochio, but when he did he made him passive and bland.
Even though I’m not familiar with the source material, I can see that. My own take is that the storytelling isn’t as sure-footed as Snow White and the animation is not as good as Jungle Book or other later projects. Yet it’s definitely worth watching. The story starts as a small, earthy fable and morphs into something more mythical and strange. I’m more fond of that second half: the scene inside the belly of the whale* is haunting, and the Pleasure Island sequence is really quite scary.
* Lest we forget, one of the chapter headings in Joseph Campbell’s Hero With a Thousand Faces was “Inside the Belly of the Whale.” The image is sort of a mythological road sign and appears in different variations in many stories of many civilizations.
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