A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Meant to entertain rather than educate.
Go for your dreams. Look out for your friends. Don't trust everyone. Looks can be deceiving.
Positive Role Models
Ringmaster is rude and bossy to his subordinates. Pinocchio's loyal steed Tybalt encourages him to face his fears. Geppetto takes initiative to go look for his son when he misses him. Tybalt races into a burning room to save his friend. A fairy woman offers wise advice for the main characters to discover their own miracles instead of relying on her magic.
Two female characters. One has talent and is a star of the circus show but is also sometimes seen as the damsel in distress as well as the love interest. Another is a fairy who provides wisdom and magic. Other characters are a mixture of human and animals but all male. Not racial diversity.
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Violence & Scariness
Animated fantasy violence. A startled character shoots Pinocchio. Since he's made of wood, he's unharmed. No blood or gore. Talk of spooky forests and evil spirits. A character is gagged with a handkerchief. Officers point their rifles at main characters. A horse kicks them into a tree. A villain sets fire to a room with people in it, leading to momentary moments of peril. A character is believed to have died. A character is held hostage at gunpoint.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Discussions of a character developing a crush and falling in love. Talk of asking a girl out on a date. After a misunderstanding, Pinocchio wants the help of a fairy to turn him into a human in hopes of winning over a girl.
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Mild language includes "dumb" and "stupid."
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Pinocchio: A True Story is a comedic spin on the classic tale. In this version, Pinocchio develops a crush and falls in love. This animated tale has violence, including a trigger-happy cat who works alongside a shady ringmaster and fires his weapons multiple times, including hitting (but not injuring) the main character. There are moments of danger and perceived peril throughout, including characters being locked in wagons and gagged. An occupied circus tent is set on fire. The audience may momentarily worry about the fate of a main character. The ringmaster is a rude and bossy leader to his subordinates, who are responsible for much of the violence. They wind up having to face the consequences of their actions. Mild language includes "dumb" and "stupid." Pinocchio's loyal steed Tybalt encourages him to face his fears and stick up for friends. Where previous iterations of this story have focused on the consequences of lying, this version highlights the importance of love, loyalty, family, and friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Pinocchio: A True Story is not your average fairy tale. The classic adventure story is retold with a humorous spin and infused with a love story. Though the animation quality leaves a little to be desired, that's made up for with the delightful voice cast. Pauly Shore's spin on Pinocchio is exactly what fans of his might expect, which gives the character an older feel than viewers are used to. Instead of sounding like a young child, Pinocchio speaks more like a man with dry humor. Jon Heder's animal sidekick character provides comic relief as well as good advice.
The magical adventure has talking animals and a simple plot for a younger audience to follow. There's also just enough humor and intrigue that the adults in the room might be able to tolerate yet another Pinocchio story. Though there are lessons of following your dreams and sticking up for friends, they aren't as obvious as they might be in other children's movies. There are many bread crumbs spread throughout the film that come together in the serendipitous conclusion (so much so that it might just have viewers wanting to start it over to watch again).
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.