Top positive review
A beautifully crafted and visually stunning adaptation of a classic.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 1 January 2021
Having seen this film twice at my local cinema I was delighted to be able to obtain it on disc to enjoy again.
Garrone's adaptation is a real passion project that he had been wanting to complete for many years, and it shows in every frame of the picture. His decision to execute as much as possible of the film using prosthetic makeup rather than CGI brings a luminous, magical quality to the work. The two central performances by Federico Ielapi and Roberto Benigni are faultless and the film is visually stunning.
Garone has returned to a place much closer to Collodi's darker tone in the storytelling, rather than the saccahrine treatment of Disney. Whilst he has still softened the edges of some aspects of the narrative (the story is very grim indeed in its original version) he has maintained the sense of Pinocchio as being quite uncontrollably rebellious rather than merely a bit of a mischief.
The importance of the turquoise fairy is really highlighted in this telling, as is the fact that Pinocchio repeatedly strays from the right path numerous times before finally finding redemption by learning to think for himself and about others. It remains a film that is suitable for children but supervision is necessary, due to some quite violent imagery at times.
The transfer to DVD here is, sadly, rather dark, and many scenes particularly in the earlier parts of the film appear more dimly lit than on the cinema screen (and I am watching on a well adjusted 65" LED screen) but this does not detract appreciably from the viewing experience.
Although the disc contains no additional bonus features, one big bonus is that it contains both the original Italian soundtrack and the English dubbed version (voiced mainly by the original actors) and optional English subtitles, which offers a choice of viewing options. I am glad of this, as my local cinema showed the film in the Italian version with subtitles, and it is nice to be able to view it this way as well as in the dubbed version that was on wider UK release.
This film is a treat for lovers of finely crafted cinema, as well as those who enjoy a classic tale told by a master storyteller.