Walt Disney’s Pinocchio is one of my all time favorites, as it’s a near perfect film for children and their families to watch together as both can learn valuable life lessons and have fun while doing so. Nearly eight decades later, the movie has been remastered and re-released for a whole new generation to enjoy with the Pinocchio: Signature Collection Blu-ray. Featuring a clean, crisp picture and 7.1 DTS audio, parents and their kids are sure to love watching Pinocchio and his adventures to become a real boy.
Most know about Pinocchio is some shape or form, but for those who don’t, the plot centers on an old toymaker named Geppetto. He loves bringing joy to children with toys and puppet shows he puts on for them, but sadly he longs to have a son of his own. One night not long after he finished making his latest and greatest puppet named Pinocchio, Geppetto makes a wish upon a star for a son and goes to bed. This being the Disney universe and all, a magic fairy soon appears and grants the puppet life while telling him if he’s brave, honest and selfless, he will become a real boy. She also assigns the wise and lovable Jiminy Cricket as his conscience to keep Pinocchio out of trouble and to help him in his quest to become human. The two are put to the test through many misadventures that tempt Pinocchio to lie (which makes his nose grow longer), do seedy stuff with a young lad named Lampwick, and more that will show if Pinocchio has what it takes to be a real boy.
This movie holds up just as well as it did back in 1940 and I loved being able to revisit it again. As with most of the classic Disney stuff, the music/songs, animation, colors and characters are near perfection and are a joy to watch. There’s also some slightly scary moments when Pinocchio gets pulled into temptations with Lampwick on Pleasure Island that still haunt me to this day, namely the donkey transformation sequence as they become slaves there. Seeing these scenes in high definition was a bonus, as everything looks and sounds better than ever, despite the original 4:3 fullscreen ratio.
The special features here are a mix of part new and part recycled from previous releases of the film, so I’ll just talk about the newer ones. “The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon a Star” features singers JR Aquino, Alex G, and Tanner Patrick as viewers go behind the scenes with them as they create a modern version of the Disney classic “When You Wish Upon a Star”. There’s also a video for it as well. “Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island” is a small but amazing extra that has transcripts from the film’s story meetings that are brought to life by actors with an introduction by Pete Doctor and J.B. Kauffman. One of the most interesting and funny bits from this was learning the original name for Pleasure Island was “Boobieland”.
“In Walt’s Words: Pinocchio” has some archival recordings of Walt Disney himself talking about what drove him create the film while also showing various clips from it and rare behind-the-scenes images. Probably the most impressive extra is “Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa” that takes Oswald’s debut cartoon from 1927 and restores it for this release.
For families looking for a great film to watch together that teaches life lessons and is enjoyable through and through, the Pinocchio: Signature Collection Blu-ray is a no-brainer. It’s one of Disney’s (and the world’s) greatest movies for a reason, actually quite a few reasons that make it a must-have film and should mandatory viewing for anyone that loves animated or amazing movies.