It’s been about four months since the release of Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation of Pinocchio and critics, for some reason(s), have not been happy with the results of Zemeckis’ magical romp about a puppet who wanted to be real.
Critics have lambasted the film for being soulless and devoid of purpose. However, critics are not always right about the movies that they review and since the film currently rests at a rotten score of 28%. I’m here to explain why the majority of critics, in this case, are completely wrong.
One of the greatest things about this amazing film is Keegan-Michael Key’s turn as the sinister, conniving fox. John is virtually unchanged in his motivations from the 1940. He and his mute cat friend Gideon, still want to sell Pinnochio to Stromboli for profit.
Key adds a layer of comedic flare to the character with such fervor and whimsy. Every word out of his mouth is so quotable that he actually does a better job at it than Walter Catlett from the 1940 film.
Moreover, the CGI of John is probably the best seen in many years. You can see every hair, fiber and feature on his face as if he were a real character filmed with 4K cameras.
If John was the creme de la creme of the movie, we cannot forget about the rest of the wondrous cast involved in the project. Tom Hanks looks like the living embodiment of Geppetto and his sensitive performance adds a touching tone to the film.
Moreover, Luke Evans’ devious turn as the Coachman is surprisingly good in this adaptation of the wooden puppet. I thought that his casting as the maniacal Pleasure Island runner was a little bit out of place, but after seeing the film, he fit into the role like a glove. He may not have been as sinister as the 1940 Coachman, but he still manages to come off as a threatening villain for viewers.
Geppetto’s Deceased Son
Unlike the 1940 film, Geppetto is seen building Pinocchio in the beginning of the film sometime after his son and wife died for unknown reasons. This was a driving detail and nuance the remake added to better explain Pinocchio’s origin.
Admittedly, Del Toro’s iteration also explained that Gepetto lost a son, but the way the wood-carver made the puppet was portrayed very differently. In the animated movie, Gepetto is seen drunkenly trying to remake his son out of pine in a Frankenstein-esque montage. Knowing the motivations from both wood-carvers, Del-toro’s version somewhat saps the heart out of the creation of Pinocchio and replaces it with desperation, while Hanks portrays it with more precision, tenderness, love and care.
Alan Silvestri’s score almost never disappoints. His music mixed in with the previous legacy and songs of the 1940 film provides a gleeful and nostalgic trip back into another Disney fairy tale. Every note, rest, and crescendo proves to further the plot of the film.
What’s more important to note is the fact that the new songs are truly admirable in the movie. Tom Hanks adds some heart when he bellows “When He Was Here with Me”, about his deceased son as he builds Pinocchio and the stand out song seems to be the Coachman’s song as Luke Evans blasts his dulcet notes out with a whimsical, yet malevolent tone.
Différent Ending Lesson
In the 1940 movie, Pinocchio is seen on a deathbed after nearly drowning when Monstro gave he and his father chase and Geppetto is seen sobbing at the loss of his son, only for the boy to be revived as a real boy after being deemed, truthful, unselfish and brave.
In the remake, Pinocchio is seen crying over his father after they escape the evil sea monster. After one of the puppet’s tears drops on his father, probably due to some fairy magic, Geppetto comes back to life. The two get up and go towards an immaculate blue light in a cave. It’s implied that he eventually turns into a real boy, but it doesn’t matter what he is made of, but rather what is inside of him.
Many people believe that this departure from the 1940 ending misses the point of the movie, but I disagree and I think that it adds a layer of what truly being real means. Pinocchio proved himself to be real when he was truthful, brave and unselfish for going after his father. It’s obvious audiences misunderstand the moral of the story.
Moreover, it could be implied that when Geppetto and Pinocchio went into the blue light that they died after Monstro chased them, which has an even deeper meaning that Zemeckis adds to.
Either way, this was still a solid movie.
Pinocchio is now streaming on Disney+
Disney’s ‘Strange World’ Review | An Ecological Sci-Fi Family Adventure
Adventure is Out There! And “Strange World” is an Epic One indeed! Showcasing breathtaking animation, colourful visuals, heart, and a beautiful story about three generations living up to a family legacy whilst directors Don Hall and Qui Nguyen (who also wrote the screenplay) weave in an impactful eco-environmental message.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ original action-adventure “Strange World” journeys deep into an uncharted and treacherous land where fantastical creatures await the legendary Clades, a family of explorers whose differences threaten to topple their latest—and by far— most crucial mission.
They’re The Clades!
“Strange World” introduces us to the multigenerational Clade family. There’s larger-than-life explorer grandfather Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid), his family-orientated farmer son Searcher Clade (Jake Gyllenhaal), Searcher’s wife and pilot Meridian Clade (Gabrielle Union), and their teenaged 16-year old son Ethan Clade (Jaboukie Young-White) who longs for adventure beyond his father’s farm and together with the help of their crew aboard the Venture, the Clade family alongside their adorable dog Legend, a mischievous blue blobby creature named Splat and the president of Avalonia Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) navigate through this Strange unique world in a race against time to save their home.
This nostalgic homage to sci-fi adventures has a moving intergenerational storyline, positive diverse representation, and two adorable sidekicks throughout the film we focus on the family dynamic and relationships between Ethan, his parents, and his grandfather. Ethan is a typical teenager who rolls his eyes when his parents smooch, lights up when his friends visit and get completely tongue-tied when his crush, Diazo, is around. Ethan is the first openly gay character in a Disney Animated feature and the way it’s handled throughout is beautifully done. His queerness doesn’t define him it’s part of who he is, it’s refreshing to see how his family embrace him exactly who he is without question.
“Strange World” also challenges the father and son dynamic as Jager represents the old-school explorer wanting to venture beyond the mountains and ultimately leave a lasting legacy, whilst Searcher is caught between that legacy, and Ethan longs for the kind of adventure that echos that of the grandfather he’s never met. Ultimately this brings to the surface deep parental anxieties and regrets as the Clades’ family dynamic becomes clear. An adventurer expects his farmer son to be more like him, and that farmer transfers his unique expectations onto his own son. At its heart “Strange World” is a story about saving your home and repairing generational relationships.
The voice cast is phenomenal throughout as the movie’s heart and soul are its characters. Everyone from Jake Gyllenhaal to Lucy Liu was fantastic, but the standouts for me were Dennis Quaid as Jaeger Clade whose dreams become an obsession, he’s a man too focused on leaving a lasting legacy and Quaid’s vocals provide warmth, charisma which makes this grandfather a very relatable character. Jaboukie Young-White as Ethan Clade provides such a vulnerable and relatable vocal performance as a young boy searching for his purpose and Adventure in life.
“Strange World’s” visuals are vibrant and cotton candy-coloured as the new world comes to life around the curious Avalonians. The world-building includes peril at every turn. Avalonia is part agrarian, and part retro-futuristic and the technological society uses a newly discovered bioluminescent plat called “Pando”. These round green saplings give off electricity providing Avalonia with a new energy source. Avalonia itself is a Community woven together from a mix of ethnic cultures, the world is both a peaceful and quiet utopia.
However, to save their home from dying they must descend into an enormous hole in the ground. the group all end up in a vast, hidden subterranean world where bizarre creatures, looming danger, and point unknown await the legendary family of explorers. The look of this “Strange World” harkens back to pulp-fiction magazines that were published from 1896 to the late 1950s. This world is weird, fun, and extraordinary, the artists and animators have truly outdone themselves and have created something truly unexpected as everything looks unique and everything is not as it seems throughout this “Strange World” trees may not be trees and mass landscapes may not be real, plants may suddenly take flight it’s a junglelike landscape composed of every single colour except for green, this place is otherworldly yet grounded. One of its inhabitants was the adorable and mischievous blue blob named Splat and credit to the animators who were responsible for bringing personality and movement to such a character.
Voyage To The Heart
The environment is something that we think about everyday as we ultimately want our descendants to have a future, but in order to do that we have to realise the choices we make today will and can affect the future. Avalonia’s energy crisis is at the forefront with the bioluminescent Pando becoming the substitute for fossil fuels.
Family is central and each play part in this environmental story. Quaid’s character Jaeger wants to conquer nature whereas Gyllenhaal’s Searcher is the controller as farmers interact with nature. As for Ethan, he’s the conservationist and the character that ultimately drives the message of the story. If we take a small step forward, we can change so much and treat the Earth a different way.
The Fate of Strange World
“Strange World” overall is a must watch for the family this festive season, its an epic Adventure that’s fun, showcases breathtaking animation, colourful visuals, heart, and a beautiful story about legacy, and the relationship between a father and son as told through three generations that are surrounded in a relatable world with many issues that we are facing right now shown at the forefront. The environmentalist-friendly story truly offers plenty of laughs and feels courtesy of Legend — the family’s big, lovable, three-legged dog, who befriends everyone — and Splat, the blob-like, being that Ethan discovers in the seemingly magical world. Both will absolutely delight of younger viewers and certainly sell merchandise. The score by Henry Jackman is thrilling and adventurous harkening back to John Willam’s Indiana Jones soundtrack. There have been noticeably little to none promotion and advertising but this being Disney’s 61st animated feature film truly makes for a theatrical experience.
Helmed by Oscar-winning director Don Hall (Big Hero 6, Raya and the Last Dragon) and co-directed/writer Qui Nguyen(co-writer, Raya and the Last Dragon). Disney’s “Strange World” is now in cinemas.
Click HERE for an explorers activity pack full of “Strange World” goodies!
Disney Eyes a Third Installment for ‘The Princess Diaries’, Hires Aadrita Mukerji to Pen the Script
With the long-awaited continuations of Disney stories such as Enchanted, The Santa Clause, The Mighty Ducks, Willow, etc. being released and in development, it seems that Disney has more stories they want to tell in The Princess Diaries universe.
According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Disney has hired writer Aadrita Mukerji to pen a script for a new installment which will act as a continuation of the story and not a reboot. Though Anne Hathaway has yet to sign on, she has previously publicly expressed interest in returning and stated support for a third installment. The hope for the house of mouse, is that if Hathaway is a fan of the script, she’ll sign on.
The Princess Diaries released in 2001, with the subsequent film arriving in 2004. The two films combined grossed $300 million globally and are still in the pop culture stratosphere today. Hathaway played an American teenager who discovers that she is a successor to royalty in the European kingdom, Genovia. The Oscar-winning actress starred in both movies alongside Julie Andrews and were directed by the late filmmaker, Garry Marshall.
Mukerji has previously written for television, most recently for The CW’s Supergirl, Amazon’s Reacher and the new broadcast hit for NBC, the reboot of Quantum Leap.
Shawn Levy to Direct a ‘Star Wars’ Film After ‘Deadpool 3’
Ever since the J.J. Abrams and Disney-led feature film Skywalker trilogy has come out, there has been a stagnation when it comes to more movies within the major movie franchise known as Star Wars. While the Disney+ shows have been hit or miss, they have generated more interest in the property and lore within the universe with shows such as The Mandalorian and more recently, Andor. However, it seems that we may be heading back to a galaxy far, far away sooner than we think.
According to Deadline, Shawn Levy will be developing a new Star Wars film, though there are no plot details, or a writer attached as of yet. Levy already has his hands full with multiple projects across film and television within many different stages of production. Levy recently wrapped filming on a limited series, All the Light We Cannot See, a WWII-based drama for Netflix in which he directed all four episodes. Additionally, Levy is an executive producer on Stranger Things and will direct at least two episodes of the fifth and final season of Netflix’s flagship program which just recently finished being written by the Duffer brothers. Next though, Levy will direct the long-awaited Deadpool 3, which will reunite him with Free Guy and The Adam Project star, Ryan Reynolds and feature the return of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.
This feature based in the Star Wars universe is one of many currently being developed by Disney and Lucasfilm, so anyone’s guess is as good as mine for what will hit cameras first. Watchmen and The Leftovers creator Damon Lindelof is also writing a Star Wars film set to be directed by Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy. There is also a film from Taika Waititi in development and another being penned by Loki creator, Michael Waldron and produced by Kevin Feige.
Whichever film is released next will have a big target on its back, for better or for worse as the last Star Wars film was 2019’s Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. The TV side though has many shows in development to hold fans over with The Acolyte going into production this week, Ahsoka starring Rosario Dawson in post-production and a new season of The Mandalorian on the horizon set to release in 2023.
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