Friday, January 14, 2011

Disn-A-Thon: Pinocchio (1940)

Jiminy Cricket, a vagabond insect, spends a rainy night at the shop of toymaker Geppetto. The Blue Fairy brings a marionette to life after Geppetto wishes on a star for a son, and Jiminy Cricket is appointed the new boy's conscience. He has a devil of a time keeping up as Pinocchio is willingly lured through various forms of temptation, the most frightening of which leads him to Pleasure Island, where he drinks, smokes, and is almost turned into a jackass. [imdb]

Before Snow White had even premiered, Disney was working on his second feature-length animated film... Actually, I believe they were working on three(3) or four(4) of them, but they decided to push Pinocchio out first. I’d say that was a really smart move, considering how endearing this movie is compared to the others such as Bambi and Fantasia.

There really is a great amount of detail in the artwork, specifically on the backgrounds. They didn’t just focus on the characters and story; so much intricacy was put into simply things like texture of wood and cloth. Stated on the commentary track, the animators and artists didn’t go into that much detail because they had to... They did it because they wanted to challenge themselves. This is what made the earliest (and many of the later) Disney animated features wonderful. They pushed it to the limits of their abilities, so they could push even further next time around.

I’ve always been fond of Pinocchio. I grew up watching it over and over, and it’s still just as enjoyable today as it was when I was younger. I watched the blu-ray release, which doesn’t have quite as many special features as Snow White had, but they did fill this quite well.

The commentary is actually the best and most informative feature, with Leonard Maltin and others discussing the story, the artwork and the music.

The music is one of the best parts of the movie. Not only the introductory song “When You Wish Upon A Star” but also the entire score came to define the Walt Disney universe. I proudly own copies of all the audio from Disneyland in various forms, and you wouldn’t believe how much Pinocchio music is in there... Well, maybe you would, but either way, the music from Pinocchio is essentially the Disney theme music.

Once again, I played all the games too... I kind of like these games. The trivia one was a bit hard though, so I gave up. Mostly because I just didn’t want to have to think.

So yeah, Disney’s second animated feature was just as good (if not better than) the first.