Monday, December 5, 2022

Don’t Watch Pinocchio. Watch Pinocchio Instead!

(Guest post by Kobe)

These days, it feels as if every new movie needs to be connected to some previous film to be successful. Prequels, sequels, remakes, and spinoffs plague the movie theater screen and every single streaming service. So far this year, the top three grossing movies at the box office have been Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Jurassic World Dominion, and in first place, Top Gun Maverick. What do they all have in common? They’re all sequels. Even though these movies are occasionally decent or even good, the industry’s growing dependence on franchise films and remakes and the growing departure from original stories and unique films is enough to make a movie lover, such as myself, very cynical. If you’re anything like me, you get upset every time the next live-action Disney remake gets announced or released. No movie has done that quite like Pinocchio has.

Disney’s Pinocchio (2022) is a bad movie. At this point most, if not all, people can agree on that. It earned an abysmal 27% on rotten tomatoes, with it earning a similar 29% audience score. Critics gave the movie generally unfavorable reviews, with Alex Godfrey from Empire Magazine saying that “[Pinocchio] feels like an exercise. It exists because it can.” I watched the movie to see what all the fuss was about, and yes, the film completely deserves all the negative criticism it’s received. The movie feels lazy and passionless. The CGI looks gross and unpolished, the voice acting is passable at best, and the emotion and meaning of the story falls incredibly flat. You would think that with all this negativity surrounding the movie that nobody would bother watching, but the film did quite well and has a relatively large number of views on Disney Plus. Disney’s iron grasp on the entertainment industry means that they don’t need to be making quality content to be successful. Slap the Disney name on basically anything and people will watch it. This proves to be a big problem in the film industry, especially to movies like Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio.

Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) is destined to be a great movie. It’s also a movie that is predestined to have much less viewers than Disney’s latest version. Esteemed Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro has been working on this passion project, a stop-motion version of Pinocchio, since 2008. Lack of funding delayed the movie inevitably until Netflix decided to acquire the project. This movie, releasing December 9th on Netflix, recently had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival and first reactions have been incredible, with the movie currently holding a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. The trailer oozes magic. The stop-motion animation and the character and set design looks very charming. The movie also boasts an all-star voice cast including Ewan McGregor, Finn Wolfhard, Ron Perlman, Tilda Swinton, and Cate Blanchett. So yes, the movie looks great, has an amazing cast, and has great reviews. Comparing it to Disney’s Pinocchio, Del Toro’s version looks to best it in almost every way, but with less advertising and no notable brand name attached, the movie is doomed to have much lower viewership numbers.

Basically, the point of all this is to say that we should be supporting and championing movies like Del Toro’s Pinocchio, not another Disney remake. Disney could make quality content, they have the money and talent, but what incentive do they have to work harder when the low-quality content is already so successful? Time and time again people complain about these remakes that Disney keeps feeding to us on Disney Plus’s conveyer belt, but we watch them anyway. What does that say about us and the media we consume? Are we watching the type of media we want to support? Please, go watch the trailer for this new Pinocchio. Get excited. Get your friends and family excited. Most importantly, watch the movie when it releases. Maybe I hope for too much. Maybe this article is nothing but a Jiminy Cricket acting as a conscience to anyone who reads it. After all, Collodi wrote in his book, Pinocchio, that “a conscience is that still small voice that people won’t listen to.”

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