Wooden puppet and long nose. When you hear these words, you might think of Pinocchio. Pinocchio is a character of The Adventures of Pinocchio, a children novel created by Carlo Collodi. Pinocchio is well known and beloved for centuries and has been adapted into many forms of media, such as films, television, and theater. The latest adaptation of Pinocchio, directed by Italian director Matteo Garrone, and also titled Pinocchio, was released in December 2019.
The story of Pinocchio starts when Geppetto, a carpenter, decides to build a wooden puppet to earn him some money, after seeing a puppet theater show in his town. He builts the puppet with a piece of wood and names it ‘Pinocchio.” During the process, he realizes that Pinocchio is alive. He decides to make him his son. As soon as his body is complete, Pinocchio starts his journey in the world and meets several people that will change the course of his life.
Pinocchio is very faithful to the original tale, which seems more bizarre and darker for those who are more familiar with the Disney adaption but reimagined with stunning visuals and excellent production design. This visual brings the characters in the film alive (pun intended), evoking familiar emotions, and enhances the viewing experience. The use of practical and make-up instead of CG on Pinocchio also increases both Pinocchio’s creepiness and naturalism.
With its grimmer and darker tone, Pinocchio also amplifies the horrors and challenges that the wooden puppet face in his mischiefs. We can see that the director drew some inspirations from Alice in Wonderland, Wizard of Oz, and films alike in his depiction of Pinocchio’s world. Garrone created Pinocchio for adults and children, which strengthens the story’s grounded aspects to makes it more relatable and humane. Federico Ielapi also did a great job in bringing our beloved puppet to life, with his expressive eyes and rigid but childlike mannerism. Roberto Benigni also did a tremendous job as Geppetto.
Overall, Pinocchio gives us a reimagination of the beloved classic tale with the fantastic work on its technical aspects, such as visuals, production design, and great performances from Federico Ielapi and Roberto Benigni. The film’s faithfulness to the original also makes it suitable for children and adult audiences.