This movie is weird.
Like, really weird.
It’s not purposefully random like Alice in Wonderland or trippy like Dumbo, it’s just…strange.
There’s no true through line. More like four very loosely related events.
1. Gepetto is lonely and wishes for his wooden puppet to come to life. Which he does.
2. Gepetto sends Pinocchio off to school, but he gets tricked by a talking fox and his feline sidekick into becoming a circus act.
[Big Bro’s note: Is that what happened to you?]
3. Pinocchio gets turned into a donkey.
[Big Bro’s note: That’s definitely what happened to you.]
4. Pinocchio has to rescue Gepetto from the belly of a whale.
[Big Bro’s note: I’m not doing that for you.]
Totally logical sequence of events.
But that’s not even the worst of it.
Things That Make No Sense in Pinocchio
Gepetto Being Swallowed By a Whale- Furniture and Household Pets Included
No explanation on this one. Just a note dropped by a pigeon at Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket’s feet.
“Hey guyz Gepetto swallowed by whale thought you oughta know bbl.”
How did this happen?
Well, obviously he was swimming…while looking for his lost puppet son…and ran into the wrong end of the whale.
But then how did all his furniture get in there?
Maybe it was just furniture from a nearby shipwreck that looked exactly like Gepetto’s furniture.
So then how did Figaro the cat get swallowed by the same whale?
Figaro went swimming with Gepetto. Because cats love water.
What about Cleo the fish? In his own fishbowl? How did he get swallowed by the whale?
…it was one of the flying whales from Fantasia 2000. It came by and swallowed Gepetto’s entire house.
Damn flying whales.
The Bizarre Yet Extreme Hate for Actors
I’m pretty sure the entire first half of this movie is a subliminal message that children should never be actors. I think it’s no accident that the villain song for this movie has the constant refrain “An Actor’s Life for Me.”
Acting is presented as the “easy road” that Pinocchio could take instead of going to school. “What does an actor need with a conscience?” Jiminy pontificates as he abandons Pinnochio.
Of course, being an actor is a terrible, terrible fate. Pinocchio is locked inside a cage screaming “Let me out, let me out!” Anyone who has experienced “tech week” in the theater knows exactly how Pinocchio feels.
The Blue Fairy comes to Pinocchio’s rescue, but first chastises him for lying to her…and isn’t that what all actors kinda do? Make up stories?
Pinocchio learns his lesson, and proclaims “I’d rather be smart than be an actor.”
I have a feeling that the Disney animators were having a really hard time with their voice actors.
In fact, you could argue that this film hypothesizes that the only thing worse than being an actor is being turned into a donkey and used for mining purposes.
Which leads me to the next strange portion of Pinocchio…
How Terrifying This Man Is
Seriously. Just watch this clip and tell me it’s not one of the scariest things you’ve ever seen.
I actually jumped when I saw this part. I don’t mean when I saw it as a little kid, I mean when I watched it last week.
Moving on to…
Gepetto’s Terrible Parenting
His son has been alive less than twenty-four hours and he just sends him off to school with absolutely no supervision.
What did he think was gonna happen?
Well, probably not that.
But still! Presumably a decent amount of time has passed since Pinocchio became an actor, was rescued from being an actor, experimented with cigarettes and alcohol, and then turned into a donkey. But Gepetto just sat on his arse the whole time, assuming everything was okay, waiting for that flying whale to come swallow them all.
And speaking of Gepetto…
Pinocchio has to prove he’s worthy of being a real boy. But…the Blue Fairy just made him. It’s like giving birth to an infant and saying “prove you deserve the life I just gave you, jackass.”
I thought the whole point of bringing Pinocchio to life was to reward Gepetto for being a nice guy. So why not just start out by giving him a real boy, Blue Fairy? Do you just like making them bitches crawl for it? This might put you in asshole territory…
Okay, I may be over-analyzing this movie in the way I told you not to when re-viewing Snow White. But Snow White made me forget all the stupid stuff it was trying to push past me. I totally bought it because of the beauty and the emotion it evoked. The only time I really lost myself in Pinocchio was during “I’ve Got No Strings,” which is an entertaining little number.
Yeah, I love “When You Wish Upon a Star,” too. But in the context of the movie, it’s just a credits song. You’re still settling into the movie and telling people to shut up and pass the popcorn, so it didn’t really grab me. Play it outside the movie, though, and I’ll be all like…
That’s my jam. I guess, no matter how bizarre this movie, we have to thank it for giving us the anthem of Disney.
Sing it, girl.
Join us next time on Re-Viewing Disney when I tackle…