Before I get into the bad, let me give credit to the good in “Pinocchio.” The movie does contain moments that aren’t terrible. Cynthia Erivo’s Blue Fairy, the magical being who bestows Pinocchio with sentience, has empathy and warmth that’s hard to find elsewhere in the film. Jaquita Ta’le’s performance as the puppeteer that befriends Pinocchio is also a bright spot in a tale full of garish characters whose personalities are as flimsy and superficial as the production’s visual effects.
Other good things? For those of you who like Easter eggs, Geppetto’s cuckoo clocks might do something for you, as we see renditions of everything from “Snow White” to “Roger Rabbit” in the clock’s designs. For those of you who don’t like overly obvious references to Disney’s IP portfolio, however, these references might just be another thing that makes you want to hurl your remote at your television.
One of the best things I can say about the movie is that it likely won’t be one that your child will want to watch over and over, which means you won’t have to, either. It starts out slow, with Geppetto (a befuddled Tom Hanks) giving a 20-minute rambling soliloquy about how he misses his dead wife and son and how he made a wooden boy puppet to fill his lonely days. Why didn’t he make a new son the more conventional way? As Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Jiminy Cricket explains later in his horrific pseudo-Southern accent, poor ol’ Geppetto doesn’t get out much. Apologies if you — like I did after Jiminy’s observation — get some imagery in your head that you never asked for. I’m just thankful that Geppetto decided to make a wooden replica of his dead son rather than his wife, although a Geppetto version of “Lars and the Real Girl” would arguably be a more intriguing and thought-provoking movie to watch.