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Pinocchio (Zavvi Exclusive Limited Edition Steelbook)

Disney // Unrated // July 7, 2014
List Price: €19.99 [Buy now and save at Zavvi]

Review by Neil Lumbard | posted November 2, 2014 | E-mail the Author


http-equiv="content-type">
Pinocchio Zavvi Exclusive Steelbook Blu-ray Review


One of the most timeless and beloved Disney
animation
classics is the 1940 Pinocchio. Produced as the second animated
feature
film under the supervision and production of Walt Disney, this is one
of the
best films ever made regardless of the medium of art. The story is one
that is
quite an interesting and fascinating morale play that is one of the
most
inventive and memorable in film. Pinocchio is also surprisingly
dark,
intense, and well-crafted when one compares it to the more modern
output seen
from all animation studios.


The story begins with the beautiful "When You Wish
Upon
a Star" song, which is easily one of the greatest achievements of the
film
and of film music in general. It's an incredible anthem of music that
grasps a
hold of one's soul and makes a meaningful impact. To anyone who has had
dreams
- which, as far as I'm concerned should included everyone, the message
the film
conveys about looking to your dreams and not letting them go is one of
the most
compelling and beloved aspects of Pinocchio.


The film introduces us to Geppeto, who is an
elderly man working
as a wood-carver who makes toys for children. Yet one of his greatest
life
dreams was to have a child of his own, a wish that never came true for
him when
the film begins its story. He makes one wish: that his favorite,
beloved wood
doll Pinocchio could be a real boy. Before long, as the night wages on,
a blue
magic fairy arrives to help grant that wish. She brings the inanimate
Pinocchio
to life as the moving puppet still made of wood and gives Pinocchio her
guided
instructions on what he should do to become a real human boy. She tells
him to
be "brave, truthful, and unselfish", enlists the help of the Jiminy
Cricket to serve as his conscious, and fly's away.  


Of course, things go terribly wrong right away
when
Pinocchio runs into a conniving and wickedly horrid fox named "Honest
John" who convinces him to ditch his plans for going schooling to
instead
be the "lead attraction" of his very own puppet show. Pinocchio has a
interest in the stardom right away and goes to be a part of the show,
where he
dances about, singing to the tune of "I've got no strings!"
accompanying
French can-can girls, and there is success with his number almost
immediately.
Yet "Honest" John is not so honest and not only doesn't give any
earnings to Pinocchio but locks him away to use in his future shows.
The Blue
Fairy eventually saves the day, but when his own tale as to why he
wasn't in
school turns out to be untruthful, his nose begins to famously grow,
and grow,
and grow. It returns to normal but the fairy warns that it was the last
time he
would be given any favors.


Unfortunately for Pinocchio, trouble once again
awaits as he
will become tempted to go and see a paradise island for a free luxury
vacation
at Paradise Island. As it turns out, the island is home to gambling,
drinking
alcohol, smoking, an and vandalism. Jiminy Cricket becomes frantic at
the
circumstances surrounding this and Pinocchio's newfound trouble. Jiminy
also
soon learns that it isn't any ordinary island: it's cursed to turn the
young
boys going their into literal "jackasses" and turn them into
slave-laborers. It becomes up to Jiminy and the help of Geppeto to save
Pinocchio before it's too late. On this perilous journey, Geppeto gets
Pinocchio off the island (with only an ounce of time to spare as
Pinocchio only
gets a tail and ears from his transformation) but then it becomes
face-off time
against a giant blue whale. Of course, the big question of all of this
giant
perilous journey will be... what Pinnochio learned from his experiences
and if
he will become a real boy by tale's end. As the film says..."if you
wish
upon a star, your dreams will come true".


In this day and age of computer animation becoming
the norm
for all animated productions (and hand-drawn work becoming increasingly
rare)
it's a wonder to revisit the classic animated films which made the
genre and
style of filmmaking a success in the first place. Pinocchio was
one of
animation's earliest masterpieces and it helped to signal in a whole
wave of
efforts that would be produced by Disney and other studios later on. It
has
also been named as the greatest animated film of all time according to
a 2014
polling conducted with animators and industry employees (working for
the likes
of Disney and Pixar among others), many of whom cite the film as the
most
inspiring film ever made for them (many animators say that Pinocchio
almost by-itself made them want to be animators and work in the
industry). The
film was entirely done with traditional  hand
drawn animation. To think that the crash
of the ocean waves, the behemoth whale, and the nightmarish sequences
were done
with laborious love and care by hand from Disney animators is a special
realization of its own. The art of the animation is such a vital reason
for the
film's beauty, wonder, and lasting impact.


To think that Disney no longer even has a
traditional
animation unit in place (after the firing of all remaining traditional
animators after the studio executives felt The Princess and the Frog
underperformed
in the box-office) and closing the traditional animation studio
headquarters
altogether, so that the focus would entire reside on computer-animation
techniques
(which, despite using hand-drawn work for some of the planning and
computer-done techniques is absolutely, undisputedly a
different art
form within the animation medium) is downright depressing. What is
especially
interesting to me about this is that even Pinocchio was a
disappointment
in the box-office at first (despite enormous critical praise). What if
Disney
himself, seeing those numbers, had throw in the towel? Yet he did not,
and he persevered,
another important thematic element inherent in this undisputed
masterpiece.


Martin Scorsese recently gave an interview about
the topic
of the dying use circulating within Hollywood of traditional film
replication,
and noted " Would anyone dream of telling young artists to throw away
their paints and canvases because iPads are so much easier to carry? Of
course
not." Yet that's exactly what happened to Disney Studios to animators
who
didn't want work in CG animation or didn't know how. Walt Disney would,
in my
estimation, find this an entirely heartbreaking thing. Pinocchio
was one
of his great achievements and to think that the world is shifting away
from
this specific type of art-form (with traditional techniques and paint)
deeply
saddens me. If I had a dream to wish upon a star for the animation
world, it
would be to have the days of hand-drawn animation at Disney Studios to
not be a
thing relegated only to the past.


Classic Disney productions always tended to
involve a lot of
artists to create these stories. The directors for Pinocchio
included Norman
Ferguson, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Jack Kinney, Hamilton Luske, Bill
Roberts,
and Ben Sharpsteen. The story development, screenplay and concepts were
developed
by the following writers: Ted Sears, Otto Englander, Webb Smith,
William
Cottrell, Joseph Sabo, Erdman Penner, and Aurelius Battaglia. style=""> I would like to give a standing ovation to all
of these fine artists for the contributions they made to this classic
film:
amazing work was done in all regards. Pinocchio was a great
film for its
story, animation, and uniformly brilliant craft. I wish to salute these
pioneers
of hand-drawn animation. The history pertaining to animation would not
exist
were it not for artists like them. Without such artists, today's
animators may
not have had that same dream to "wish upon a star..." and work in the
field of animation.


The Blu-ray:





Video:


Pinocchio style="">has received a stunning Blu-ray presentation
which is beautiful to behold. The bold colors, clean animation (free
from
specks of dirt, damage, and other print deficiencies), and a general
clarity
that far exceeds one's expectations for a film over seventy years old
is an
area where this transfer truly shines. Presented in 1080p with an
MPEG-4 AVC
encoding in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame,
this is
one of the best looking release of Disney's animation restorations. style="font-weight: bold;">


Note:
Region B Locked.


Audio:


The sound design has been remixed to be expanded
to a 7.1
DTS-HD Master Audio presentation. The lossless boost is one that offers
an appreciable upgrade over previous
editions. The sound quality is not quite as impressive as the picture
quality
is, though, as the sound can sometimes seem dated and to be lacking in
a full
range of fidelity for high-definition audio. This is easily noted as
being
because of the age of the production so it seems unfair to knock the
score of
the audio too much as it still easily sounds like a quality sound-mix
and with
vocal clarity that defies it's age as one of film's earliest animated
efforts. The
surround sound expansion also sounds far more tasteful than one might
imagine,
and it was mainly used to add some slight envelopment during the music
scenes
and the uproarious conclusion with the whale. The sound doesn't feel
artificial
or false within the new mix and that's praise-worthy.


Additional audio options included on this release:
Spanish,
Italian, and Dutch 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio presentations. style=""> 


Subtitles are provided in: English, English SDH
(for the
deaf and hearing impaired), Spanish, Italian, and Dutch.





style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">style="font-family: Verdana; font-size: 10pt;">Photographs
of the Zavvi
Exclusive Steelbook Edition:




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height="673" width="500">


style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">

src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/full/1414633661_3.jpg"
height="654" width="500">




style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/full/1414633661_5.jpg"
height="338" width="500">



Above:


Steelbook as it was released and will be received.




style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">style="font-weight: bold;">Below:

Steelbook as it can look if one adds a plastic disc hub and the
bonus features disc (sold seperately).




style="margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; text-align: center;">src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/full/1414633661_6.jpg"
height="337" width="500">


Extras:


 


Audio
Commentary
featuring film critic
Leonard Maltin, J.B. Kaufman, and animator Eric Goldberg


 


"When You
Wish Upon a Star" Music Video
(HD, 3 min.)  as
performed by Meaghan Jette Martin.


 


Disney Song
Selection
allows viewers to jump to a favorite song and watch
standalone.
Karaoke lyrics accompany these music-only scenes for those who wish to
either
sing along or follow the lyrics.  


 


Pinocchio's
Matter of Facts
offers up an assortment of trivia, history, and
production
notes related to Pinocchio and these can be read while watching the
film.


 


Disney View
(where artwork is shown in place of traditional black bars on the left
and
right of the screen because of the full frame aspect ratio).


 


Cine-Explore is
a
Disney PiP commentary track with the hosts from the audio commentary
providing
video commentary with selections of storyboards, notes, etc. relating
to the
film.


 


Disney Smart
Games: Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge
is a basic trivia-style
game to
play.


 


Lastly, the
release
includes trailers promoting other Disney films.





src="http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/images/reviews/275/full/1414661314_1.jpg"
height="473" width="500">


 


Final
Thoughts:

 


Pinocchio
is
one of the greatest Disney animation classics. The Blu-ray release is
high
quality and is worth adding to any film buff's collection. [Please
Note
that this is one of a few
Zavvi Disney steelbooks to be Region B 'locked' so you will need a
region free
player to play this release's Blu-ray disc (or reside in the United
Kingdom).]


 


Regardless, I
feel
this edition is worth an overwhelming recommendation. Even if you only
have a
Region A player, just get the U.S. stateside edition (which has an
extra bonus
disc) and stick both discs in this edition. I am flabbergasted by the
print
quality and technical merit of this as something collectible. The
steelbook is
a work of art.


 


This Zavvi
Exclusive Limited Edition Steelbook is the best designed release for
the film released
worldwide and it's a treasure, a masterpiece itself as one of
the most
visually stunning steelbook editions ever released. It's remarkable how
beautiful it is and it fits the film perfectly. I prefer it to all of
the other collectible releases that were put out around the world for Pinocchio,
such as
the earlier (and now OOP) Best Buy/Futureshop steelbook edition, and
the Wood
Box edition. Anyone looking to own Pinocchio with a classy,
beautiful
package should consider this a essential release.


Highly Recommended.



Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema. He aspires to make movies and has written two screenplays on spec. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.


C O N T E N T

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