Pinocchio (2018)

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Pinocchio (2018) Movie Poster Image
Reimagining of classic tale has lots of peril, some scares.
  • PG
  • 2018
  • 84 minutes

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We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than to educate.

Positive Messages

Good deeds will be rewarded. Bad behavior has consequences. Good intentions aren't enough; follow-through is a must. While it's easy to be distracted from doing the right thing, people must focus on what's important. "A child who defies and disobeys ends up sorry in so many ways." Beware of people who promise things that are too good to be true.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Pinocchio learns strong lessons about honesty, perseverance, self-control, courage, and gratitude. Father figure is responsible, loving, forgiving. 

Violence & Scariness

Cartoon suspense and scares, including some spooky settings and music. Pinocchio is chased by villains, struggles, and is captured, imprisoned, and separated from his father. He's in danger from fire, drowning, bullies, con artists, a giant sea serpent. Villains are more humorous than grotesque, though they have their share of fangs, cackles, and threats. 

Sexy Stuff
Language

Some name-calling by bullies: "loser," "ugly," "Pinocchio is a joke-e-o."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine is served in one comic scene.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Pinocchio (2018) is an Italian animated film made in 2012 that has been re-conceived and re-voiced in English for its DVD release in 2018. As the filmmakers announce early, the story is "freely adapted from 'Le Avventure di Pinocchio,' by Collodi." And, freely adapted it is, though perhaps closer to the Collodi original than the Disney version and others. Viewers can expect to meet Geppetto, the woodcarver, as well as some of the classic characters like "James" Cricket, the con artists Fox and Cat, and the "Amusement World" where fun is the only pastime. However, director Enzo D'Alo and his team have added new characters, situations, and songs and a new spin on the familiar. Cartoon action is frequent. Pinocchio is in near constant danger, both from the villainous con men who populate his world and from his own inability to obey, follow directions, and stay focused on his task. He is chased, captured, imprisoned, threatened with death, and in peril from fire, drowning, and losing the father he is only slowly learning to cherish. As in the original and all the representations that followed, Pinocchio learns much about honesty, loyalty, and doing the right thing. OK for kids who are comfortable with pretend versus real violence. 

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What's the story?

PINOCCHIO (2018) is set in Italy a long time ago. Lucky Geppetto (voiced by Michael Rudder), the wood carver, finds a wonderful hunk of wood that he hears giggling like a child. Delightedly he carves a puppet who appears immediately to be the "son" that Geppetto has longed for. But Pinocchio (Johnny Orlando) isn't the son that Geppetto anticipated. Instead of being an obedient, loving child, the little puppet is incorrigible, a wild child who wants to do only as he pleases. Eating, drinking, and sleeping are the only activities he's willing to try. What's more, he's curious, ready to believe just about anything anyone tells him, other than his dad. And because of his nature, the poor little puppet gets caught up in a series of perilous adventures that threaten to separate him from his belongings, his home, his father, and even his very short life. Only a chance meeting with a beautiful blue-haired fairy (Jennifer Suliteanu) gives Pinocchio pause and helps him see that perhaps being a real boy who is loving and well-behaved might offer a calmer, more productive way of life.

Is it any good?

Dazzling color, inventive animation, funny and/or memorable characters, along with some cute original songs, are Director Enzo D'Alo's contribution to the iconic misbehaving puppet's story. And it doesn't hurt that the movie is set in Italy, home to Collodi, the 19th-century author of the original book. The movie's animation beautifully captures the place, bringing its countryside and villages to life. Pinocchio (2018) has lots of familiar messages about honesty, good behavior, and duty. However, an inconsistent performance by the lead actor -- Johnny Orlando, who has since gone on to a busy career as a young teen -- and some pacing challenges, which may have to do with the adaptation from the original Italian into English, fail to deliver a top-notch audience experience. Kids who are at ease with cartoon violence should enjoy the characters -- particularly the peripheral ones, many of whom have been given distinctive, quirky personalities. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how fairy tales and other classic stories are filmed over and over again. What's the advantage to a film production company of using a story or character that people are already familiar with, like Pinocchio? What responsibilities do the new creators have to make their own vision special and separate from those that have gone before?  

  • Pinocchio started out as a very naughty little puppet. What character strengths did he develop over the course of the film (e.g., self-control, perseverance)?

  • Be creative. Take a familiar storybook or fairy tale character and write or draw that character into a new adventure that's true to the underlying premise (e.g., the curious Goldilocks landing in a big city). 

  • Talk about the violence in Pinocchio (2018). Was it scary? Funny? Did you think any of the scenes were too frightening for kids (e.g., Pinocchio in the burning tree)? Why or why not?

Movie details

Character Strengths

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Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animated tales

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