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Pinocchio – Signature Edition (Blu-ray Review)

PinocchioPinocchio now is joining the ranks of classic Walt Disney films from its original golden era, seeing their status upgraded to worthy of a double dip with the hip and fresh Signature Edition.  Importantly, though, its a really good idea and deal for those who hadn’t own this legendary Disney film before.  So, those who didn’t pick it up the first time around and wished upon a star for it to return to stores, now’s your chance.  There are no strings to hold you down, so don’t be a jackass this time and pick it up.  Disney has added a new array of bonus materials to it, too, so those who may want to upgrade based on that have something new.  This set will be available on January 31st, but pre-orders are up and running now.

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Film 

Pinocchio tells the tale of wood-carver Geppetto’s beloved puppet who embarks on a thrilling quest – with faithful friend Jiminy Cricket – that tests his bravery, loyalty and honesty, all virtues he must learn to fulfill his heart’s desire: to become a real boy.

The tale of Pinocchio was Walt Disney’s big follow up to Snow White, coming three years later (Things were much more different back then).  Interestingly, its neat to see them go with a completely different kind of film rather than maybe ease onto another princess tale or something of that ilk.  Looking at the film now, its also really neat to see the book of Alice In Wonderland hanging in the back which retroactively feels like a teaser or easter egg for a film that didn’t come for another 11 years for the studio.

Also retroactively, the film doesn’t feel like a box office disappointment, but it truly was.  Snow White had brought it so much more money than Pinocchio. Most of its money didn’t come for another 5 years when it had a reissued screening.  Strangely, the film had been positively reviewed, many of such were glowing.  So the public’s decision to not check out the film really couldn’t be attributed to it being a poor film.  And vice versa, the film didn’t have to be reanalyzed after a resurgence in a cult crowd or its second run at the box office.

While financial’s weren’t there immediately, the acclaim and awards were.  And one of the biggest things Pinocchio is known for is “When You Wish Upon A Star”.  You know, the song that is pretty much the company anthem for Disney (Or was, not sure what they use now, but in my youth it was everywhere).  That song won an Academy Award, making it the first animated film ever to receive an Oscar.

Its immortality sure has lasted as well.  There were always successful rereleases of the film in theaters and in this modern day and age of the internet, it holds a coveted 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.  Primarily the film holds up, and manages to also deliver in the horrors that I remember being scared at in my youth.  Both my children found themselves very concerned and scared during the exact same stuff I was when I was a kid.  As an adult, I think its very good, but its not really a favorite, if that makes sense.  However, its definitely worthy of all the praise and accolades its managed to acquire since its first release.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Pinocchio’s transfer is the same one from the previous Blu-ray edition of the film (“Diamond” I believe was the buzz word for the title). That’s a great thing, because it scores perfectly, having a good sharp, crisp grasp on the animation with plenty of brush stroke and sketch detail intact while harnessing a strong, full image.

Depth:  This is a 2D animation from 1940, so its flat by design.  Movement is very accurate frame-wise and cinematic by nature.

Black Levels: Blacks come on as black.  Shading is solid, with no crushing witnessed on this viewing of the film.

Color Reproduction: Colors are rather strong and my 4K UHD player and TV managed to bring them out even more beautifully than before.  Reds, yellows, greens and more were plenty true to their animated form of the 1940s, but with a freshness it maybe hasn’t had since then.

Flesh Tones: N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, Restored Original Soundtrack, French 7.1 DTS-HD HR, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: Pinocchio’s technical merits are identical to the previous one which means the excessive 7.1 track is carried over.  Its a very nice track, making the film sound probably the best it ever has, but it doesn’t do much with the format and just feels like its overboard.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  The subwoofer is present, but very much on the light end of impact.  More punch in the mix and it may have been a more promising experience than it was.

Surround Sound Presentation:  There is some fun to be had in this mix with the rear and side speakers.  However, most of this one’s movement, action and even ambient noise is more present toward the front.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is clean and clear.  There’s a hint of its age, but its been cleaned up rather well.

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Extras 

Pinocchio – Signature Edition comes with the DVD edition and a digital copy for DisneyMoviesAnywhere.

DisneyView

Sing-Along With The Movie

Audio Commentary

  • By Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman

The Pinocchio Project: “When You Wish Upon A Star”

  • The Project (HD, 3:03) – The making of and recording of a new rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star” with artists that I’m probably too old to know.  Its pretty pretentious as they act like they are saving the world by doing this cover song.
  • The Video (HD, 2:49) 

Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island (HD, 7:14) – A voice acted recreation of a meeting Walt Disney had, with transcripts, with interviews from animators about it as well as sketches.

In Walt’s Words: Pinocchio (HD, 4:48) – Archival audio interviews about Pinocchio from Walt Disney in 1956.

Oswald The Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa” (HD, 5:19) 

Classic Bonus Content

  • No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio (HD, 56:09) 
  • Deleted Scenes (HD, 10:33)
  • The Sweatbox (HD, 6:25) 
  • Geppettos Then And Now (HD, 10:57) 
  • Live-Action Reference Footage (HD, 9:57) 
  • Publicity – Original Theatrical Trailer (1940, HD, 1:52), Theatrical Trailer (1984, HD, 1:25), Theatrical Trailer (1992, HD, 1:33) 
  • When You Wish Upon A Star Music Video By Meaghan Jette Martin (HD, 3:14) 
  • A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio (SD, 5:06)
  • Storyboard-To-Film Final Comparison (SD, 4:04)

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Summary 

Pinocchio is still a Disney staple of their golden age of animation.  And, as proof, the scary stuff in it still scared my modern kids.  Haha, I know, I’m devious.  This Blu-ray is the same presentation as the previous edition, but does contain some neat new bonus material from archival stuff that some may find interesting.  If you don’t have it, pick it up. If you do have it already, glance over my bonus materials section and see if those are enough to get you to buy it again.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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