It’s another day in Disney Movie Land as I click on Disney+ to watch the second movie that was released by the Walt Disney Company. Pinocchio was released in 1940 and is about a wooden boy who longs to be a real boy. Before he becomes a real boy, he has to prove that he is brave, honest and selfless, you know, how every “real” person is.
To start off the movie we have Geppetto, who is actually a very talented woodcarver. I have a soft spot for old people so Geppetto is a pretty sweet guy. He has made a lot of pretty funny woodcarvings and has taken a liking to carving clocks. One clock in particular that I like is the clock where a farmer is trying to chop a turkey’s head off, but the turkey keeps moving his head at each chime. Anyway, this Geppetto decides he’s going to carve a wooden puppet, no big deal, pretty normal for a woodcarver. Since he is lonely he wishes on a star that the puppet could be a real boy, (touching). With a little Disney magic from the Blue Fairy, (she is called this only because she is simply wearing blue) Pinocchio is alive, not a real boy, but alive.
Now, I know this is just a movie, but they could have made Geppetto a little younger. I mean, he is definitely not the right age to be a father to a, lets say, 8-year-old boy. If anything he’s a grandpa, but it’s fine, I guess we could let it slide. A lot happens within the span of an hour and 28 mins. First, Pinocchio is on his way to school and this fox, the only other talking animal other than Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio’s “conscious”, comes up to him and tries to get Pinocchio to become an actor in Stromboli’s (I know, I know, what a name) Great Marionette Theater. Since Pinocchio is wood and Jiminy Cricket is, well, a cricket, there isn’t much more to do to un-persuade him. So he agrees and actually is a big hit, until he tells Stromboli he has to go home.
I get a little confused on why Stromboli locks up Pinocchio because of this. I mean I guess he could assume that Pinocchio won’t come back, but the puppet, no offense, is a child. He has no idea what’s going on, so of course he’s coming back. Well anyway, Jiminy Cricket comes back and can’t help Pinocchio, so the Blue Fairy shows up and helps instead. (This is the scene where he lies and his nose grows). He is freed and runs back to his father/grandfather/creator….I don’t know. But get this, Honest John, you know, the fox, shows up again and basically just abducts Pinocchio. Literally picks him up and is like “ hey I’m going to take you to Pleasure Island,” which is like this illegal place for boys to go.
At Pleasure Island all of the boys are having fun, wrecking things, smoking, drinking, you know, what every 8-year-old or so boy wants to do, and then eventually, just out of the blue, they turn into donkeys or, to use the phrase the movie wants them to be known as, jackasses. That’s right everyone, Walt Disney used the word “jackass” in their movie. The 40s was a wild time. Pinocchio grows some ears and a tail, but he makes it out before he is fully a donkey. *Side note* This scene is probably the most disturbing scene in the movie, next to the whole “escaping from Monstro” scene later on in the film. Watching Lampwick, Pinocchio’s friend from Pleasure Island, turn into a donkey is probably the most intense scene in that whole movie. At 22-years old, I was even scared. It definitely got the message across and I found myself holding my boyfriends hand in terror as I watched this cartoon boy grow ears, a tail and go out of his mind after realizing he was a donkey. He was breaking mirrors and begging on his knees for help, calling for his mom, I mean, that is traumatic stuff right there.
Once they escape Pleasure Island you would think it’s all over, happily ever after the end, right? Wrong. After all of that chaos, we now discover that SOMEHOW Geppetto got swallowed by a whale! This whale must have been really close to the shore in order to just swallow a human, cat and goldfish in a bowl whole. Oh and did I mention they all are ALIVE?! They’re all just vibing on a ship the whale ate a while ago trying to catch food. Thanks to Pinocchio he jumps in the middle of the ocean and finds his father and comes up with a plan to make the whale, Monstro, sneeze. They accomplish this, but boy is Monstro mad. (This is the second scene that was extremely intense and might make some kids not want to go in the ocean for a while).
This whale is huge. I am talking bigger-than-a five-story-building huge. We got a wooden puppet, an old man, a small cat and a goldfish who manages to stay in her bowl, in the middle. of. the. ocean. with a furious, giant whale. With this in mind, the whale has GOT to win, right? Believe it or not the wooden puppet outsmarts the whale and makes it swim right into a bunch of rocks and because of his bravery, Pinocchio is now a real boy. Now he can breathe and actually be a son to this elderly man.
In the end, it is really a touching story. There are some intense scenes, however if you’re a parent or someone around my age just re-watching the film, there will be things in there that you understand now that you didn’t understand when you were younger. One joke that was made was when it turned 9:00 and we saw all of the different clocks that Geppetto made. Geppetto then goes “I wonder what time it is?” and looks at his pocket watch rather than the hundreds of clocks he has on the wall. There is a lot of detail in this movie that I think a lot of people would appreciate and it’s a musical! It has about four songs including the Disney theme song: When You Wish Upon A Star. The lesson of this film to me would have to be, once again: don’t talk to strangers and stay away from whales.