Pinocchio: A True StoryU ¦ Blu-ray, DVD
The origin story is most often associated with that of superheroes, as it reveals their coming to being. But it’s not exclusive to the worlds of marvel and DC, as this classic tale illustrates.
Since Walt Disney’s 1940 animated release Pinocchio, there have been over 25 other versions released, both animated and live action, adapted from Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel The Adventures of Pinocchio.
The majority of these are, effectively an origin tale, telling the story of a puppet that comes to life, as retold with this Russian animated version.
In his workshop, carpenter Gepetto (Tom Kenny) is putting the finishing touches to his latest a project, a puppet that looks like a boy. To his surprise, the puppet comes to life, and so he names him Pinocchio (Pauly Shore).
The puppet is so keen to learn things, that he ends up running away, accompanied by a horse called Tybalt (Jon Header), where the pair end up at a circus. It’s there that he meets Bella (Eliza Martirosova), who performs there, who Pinocchio soon becomes attached to.
The owner of the circus Mojafocco (Dmitriy Iosifov) sees Pinocchio as a money-making act, and persuades him to take part. But as Pinocchio soon discovers, he’s far from being the most honourable and trustworthy of men.
With so many versions of this story now out there, it’s difficult to imagine why someone would think they could bring something new to the party, which is presumably what Russian director Vasiliy Rovenskiy thought he would be doing with his animated project. And to be fair, it’s certainly...different.
For starters, Jiminy Cricket is out of the picture, and replaced by a horse. It’s difficult to understand the reasoning behind this, except perhaps, the animators decided that a cricket was too tricky to draw; what with all those legs and being so tiny, that’s understandable, and you can’t really go wrong with drawing a horse.
But the story struggles in places too. For instance, everyone is surprised that a wooden puppet can talk, even though no one has a problem with a talking horse, fox and cat.
And then there’s hints of a romance between Pinocchio and Bella, which although builds on the existing origin tale, doesn’t really work or go anywhere here.
It’s a very colourful world, quite pretty in places, with whomever was tasked creating the backgrounds doing a very nice job. The character designs however, are on the disappointing side. They look dated, comparable to some animated children’s TV shows of the eighties, with a very rudimentary design.
They’re not helped by some stilted dialogue, that again feels like its lifted from some Euro-dubbed cartoon like Dogtanian and the Three Muskahounds, where it all doesn’t fit quite right. When this version was released in the States, it caused quite a stir with star Shore becoming a meme over his vocal acting abilities. They even made an international dub version, which sees Pinocchio sporting an odd Northern English accent, that just falls short of him saying ‘Ee ba gum’.
Possibly the kindest thing to say is that it would possibly pass some time for the very young, but the truth is, even they don’t deserve this, unless they’re utter shits of course. You would be far better plonking them in front of the TV and just letting watch the classic Disney original.
Pinocchio may well have no strings, but even worse, he has no originality in this version, meaning all it’s good for is kindling wood.