This live-action version of Pinocchio from the 90s can potentially be very scary for younger and older viewers. The main problem in The Adventures of Pinocchio is that the impressive technology powering the animation of Pinocchio looks weird and is oddly off-putting for some reason, if not outright terrifying. And why is Geppetto's workshop so dark, shadowy, and framed like a horror movie? There's a fair amount of violence, some gunplay, and a rewarded shooting of another boy (a wooden Pinocchio, but still). Most disturbing might be when boys get transformed into donkeys and a man gets transformed into a sea monster. In this live-action version, human faces scream and contort agonizingly while donkey ears sprout from heads, eyes get bugged out, and monstrous-looking grotesque deformities pop up. The special effects used are certainly specific to when this film was originally released, but over time what this has done is oddly make those special effects scenes very scary. There is no modern smooth, soft, or shiny sheen to the representation of any transformation or donkey boy or sea monster (originally a "dogfish"). There are no animation or computer graphics tricks in use, which means that this version shoots for realism in its depictions of the above.
The performances are good and devoted to the period and the history of late 19th century Italy, but the writing and sequencing of the plot sometimes hold everything back. There are some logical jumps and issues of common sense everywhere, like when the film chooses when to have characters care or not about seeing for a talking wooden boy for the first time. For instance, upon seeing Pinocchio for the first time, a teacher catches him lying, which, as we all know, makes Pinocchio's nose grow, which it does. The teacher simply kicks Pinocchio out of the room. Meanwhile, Geppetto is sentenced to three years in prison for creating such an abomination. Lastly, there are a few issues of not teaching kids the right lessons. Here, Pinocchio saves the day by lying and gets revenge on his enemies by turning them into animals. Younger kids should stick with the animated version.