STREAMING REVIEW: Tangled mess Pinocchio pales in comparison to original

When Tom Hanks and director Robert Zemeckis combine, moviegoers are normally in for a magnificent treat.

From Oscar-winning Forrest Gump to Cast Away and The Polar Express, news of their collaborations always bring joy. So much so that much was made of their announcement to reunite following this Pinocchio remake.

However, one really does wish Zemeckis, Hanks and Disney execs had come up with something more inspired than the lifeless reimagining they give us here.

Two-time Oscar winner Hanks is one of the best working actors, but he’s had a rough year. First, he was the noticeably weak spot of lauded film Elvis, and now his committed turn as toymaker Geppetto just isn’t enough to bring life to this incarnation.

The release was heavily marketed ahead of Disney+ day, along with the streaming release of Thor: Love & Thunder. One only wishes the film they earmarked was actually worth subscribing for.

The story of a puppet brought to life by a fairy is classic, and it was beautiful to watch Pinocchio do all he could to become a real boy under the guidance of Geppetto.

So it’s disappointing the script from Zemeckis and Oscar nominee Chris Weitz (Rogue One, About A Boy) doesn’t take any huge chances or stray much from formula. As is becoming a trend with these live-action remakes of Disney properties, it feels more like a cash-grab than a fully-formed picture.

Perhaps most bothersome is that the cast – voice and physical – is wonderful. It’s painful to watch Hanks, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Angus Wright, Cyntia Erivo, Sheila Atim, Keegan-Michael Key and Lorraine Bracco try – and fail – to give life to this one.

Another reason to celebrate, though, is the voice performance of young Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as Pinocchio. With roles in The Haunting Of Bly Manor, CBC show Son Of A Critch, The Sandman, and now Pinocchio, there’s a bright future for the young actor, despite this misstep.

This one isn’t offensive or bad, but in the end, Zemeckis fails to pull the strings together into a cohesive, worthwhile effort.

2/5 Stars

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