Will the Live-Action Pinocchio be a Smash Hit? Probably Not.


Pinocchio is one of many live-action movies Disney has released over the past few years. (Polygon)

Emma Sauer, Writer

Save your precious time and skip Disney’s upcoming “Pinocchio”— or better yet, skip all of their live-action remakes and watch the original animated films. 

  In case you haven’t caught the trailer on YouTube, Disney once again has pulled another corpse out of their crypt of classics to deliver us “Pinocchio”, which released on Disney+ on Sept. 8. 

  The film is directed by Robert Zemeckis, who has directed films such as “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” and “Polar Express”. His experience walking the thin line between animation and live-action is on full display in the trailer, which I admit has great visuals. 

  Additionally, the cast is star-studded, with Tom Hanks playing the role of Geppetto. The role of Pinnochio himself will be played by Benjamin Evans Ainsworth. 

  However, let me be clear; a spiffy coat of CGI and Tom Hanks won’t be enough to save this film. Disney’s poor track record with their live-action remakes dooms “Pinocchio” as another poor adaptation of a classic movie. 

  As someone who holds an immense love and respect for Disney’s animated classics, I am nearly always disappointed by its live-action remakes, particularly the ones that attempt to closely follow their source material. 

  Each of these films have their own problems, and some are better than others, but the recurring issue with Disney live-action remakes is they tend to be dull, irritating imitations of the classics we love. 

  Take, for example, the 2020 “Mulan” remake. To start with, they cut out the songs, one of the most endearing parts of the original movie. They did a huge disservice to Mulan’s character, replacing her with an invincible child prodigy who never has to struggle, conquer the odds, or learn to fight. 

  Another offender is “The Lion King” from 2019, with its use of lifelike CGI that drained all the color, fun, and expressiveness from the original film. 

  “Aladdin” isn’t getting away scot-free either. I don’t care how awesome Will Smith is, his version of Genie will still forever haunt my dreams. 

  The root cause of how bad these movies are is simple: they attempt to take stories, characters, and ideas made for an animated format and try to pigeonhole them into being live-action. 

  In the process of converting their animated classics into live-action, Disney loses all of the emotion, character, and storytelling from the animation, leaving a husk we all recognize but won’t enjoy. 

  Despite the obvious flaws to these movies, they continue to get churned out regularly simply because they’re profitable and easy to make. Instead of coming up with new story ideas, all Disney has to do is pull from its archive of classics, bank on the public’s nostalgia, and boom— over 7 billion in profits. 

  The company’s greed is so blatant in their live-action remakes that it makes it impossible for me to enjoy them. I can’t immerse myself in the story knowing how little creativity and heart went into these films. 

  I’ve been pretty brutal on Disney in this article, but its live-action adaptations occasionally offer potential. Many of their films that are based on earlier movies instead of remakes tend to be much better, such as “Christopher Robin” or “Cruella”. 

  Rather than attempting to be a shot-for-shot remake, these two films took old Disney properties and spun them in a new way. “Cruella” explored the origin story of a classic Disney villain, while “Christopher Robin” re-introduced the lovable characters of “Winnie The Pooh” through the eyes of a now fully-grown Christopher Robin. 

  Despite the occasionally rare gem, Disney continues to churn out live-action remakes with all the thought and artistry of a kid copying someone else’s homework. Don’t watch these bastardized adaptations. If you do, you’ll only find yourself longing for the magic of Disney’s original animated films.

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