Walt Disney’s 1940 epic Pinocchio is one of the best films ever made. It’s a living testament to what humans are capable of without computers. Decades removed from any digital assistance, the original crew was able to craft visuals like Monstro and Paradise Island that are still as powerful and terrifying today as they originally were. It’s one of the best examples of raw animation in existence.
There’s no possible way a live-action copy can ever come close, but there’s money to be made, so here we go. Actor Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis are once again partnering up for the remake, which hits Disney+ later this fall. If there’s one nice thing we can say about this film, it’s that Hanks in his old age makes for a very convincing and authentic Gepetto. Cynthia Erivo, by contrast, makes for a very bald Blue Fairy.
Pinocchio’s design is weirdly hidden from view in this trailer, even though a screenshot of him is embedded in the thumbnail. His “new” design is just basically the old one. The animal characters, including Jiminy and the anthropomorphic man-fox Honest John, try to strike a balance between their original cartoon designs and the grounded demands of the real world. Think Detective Pikachu.
We have much higher hopes for Netflix’s take on Pinocchio, a passion project from Guillermo del Toro that’s been in the works for over a decade and is finally set to premiere this holiday season. It won’t be trying to copy Disney’s version in any way — it’ll be its own thing. It’ll also be stop motion, which is animation and better suited to tell this story. We hope it may follow Collodi’s book a little more closely; the “real” Pinocchio is hardly the naive fool you see wandering into self-destruction all the time.
Disney’s Pinocchio (the new one) arrives on Disney+ September 8.