Pinocchio (2019)

pinocchio 2019 movie poster
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Acting: 7/10
Visuals: 8/10

Weird different take on the story

The story is hard to adapt

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pinocchio

Studio:  Archimede/Rai Cinema/Le Pacte

Genre(s):  Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Family

Release Date(s):  December 19, 2019 (Italy)/December 25, 2020 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG-13

pinocchio 2019 roberto benigni puppet

I’ve brought this abomination to life!

Old Geppetto (Roberto Benigni) has miraculously created a puppet from a piece of wood and named the boy Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi).  Pinocchio has no sense and often is a foolish child.  When he leaves town with a travelling puppet show run by Mangiafuoco (Gigi Proietti), Pinocchio finds himself on an adventure to get back home.  With the help of a fairy (Marine Vacth) and despite the efforts of a fox (Massimo Ceccherini) and cat (Rocco Papaleo), Pinocchio hopes to be reunited with Geppetto and become a real boy.

Directed by Matteo Garrone, Pinocchio is a family fantasy film.  The movie is an adaptation of  1881 serialized story The Adventures of Pinocchio (Le avventure di Pinocchio) by Carlo Collodi which was collected in 1883, and the film was positively reviewed.  The movie received Academy Award nominations for Best Costume Design and Best Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling.

pinocchio 2019 blue fairy federico ielapi alida baldari calabria

Let’s raise some hell!!!

Pinocchio is notoriously a difficult story to adapt.  Disney famously adapted it as one of their first animated films and forever tied themselves to the story…leading to comparisons.  This Pinocchio is different than Disney, but captures the spirit of the original story.

This version is closer to Carlo Collodi’s serialized story.  Like the other versions, the movie doesn’t necessarily flow as Pinocchio goes from adventure to adventure, but it is decidedly darker than other Pinocchio versions.  The movie is still pretty accessible for a family viewing, but it feels a bit more adult (and received a PG-13 rating)…considering Garrone’s gritty crime drama Gomorrah, it fits.

Roberto Benigni famously made the horribly 2002 Pinocchio where he played Pinocchio and now he steps in as Geppetto.  As Geppetto he has a rather diminished role with appearances at the beginning and end.  Federico Ielapi is Pinocchio is the real main actor of the film and does a fine job as the creepy looking puppet.  The Pinocchio is simple and he is easily tricked and fooled…which fits with the idea that he’s simply just been born.

pinocchio donkey ears federico ielapi

Pinocchio’s a real ass

The film uses a lot of practical effects which also gives it a creepy look.  If Pinocchio was computer generated, it would maybe fit more, but the movie goes with more practical effects that give Pinocchio an eerie look.  Monstro is always a highlight, and this Monstro isn’t as cool as some of the other versions of the monster (though the donkey is always horrifying).

Pinocchio won’t win fans that don’t like the story and even fans of the story might have a tough time with it.  I like that it dives into the creep factor of Pinocchio, but it is just too odd and too uneven to really enjoy much.  I admire its attempt, but overall this Pinocchio is just dead wood (though others will always try).

Related Links:

The 93rd Academy Award Nominations

Pinocchio (1940)

Pinocchio (2022)

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022)

Pinocchio’s Christmas (1980)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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