Pinocchio parents guide

Pinocchio Parent Guide

This film is the cinematic equivalent of scraping nails across a chalkboard.

Overall C

Disney+. Lonely clockmaker Geppetto makes a puppet that is brought to life by a fairy. The puppet, Pinocchio, sets out to see the world and find a way to become a real boy.

Release date September 8, 2022

Violence B
Sexual Content A-
Profanity A-
Substance Use A

Why is Pinocchio rated PG? The MPAA rated Pinocchio PG for peril/scary moments, rude material and some language.

Run Time: 111 minutes

Parent Movie Review

“If your heart is in your dream, No request is too extreme, When you wish upon a star.” Thus promises the familiar Disney song but with Pinocchio, the studio fails to deliver. As a critic, I wished for a movie that would be an upgrade on the animated original, but this live action remake is uninspired and mind-numbingly boring.

As with its predecessor, this film introduces us to Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the clock-maker Geppetto (Tom Hanks), the cat Figaro and fish Cleo. The lonesome artisan makes a puppet in the image of his lost son and when he wishes on a star, the puppet comes to life. The Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) gives him awareness and a personality, along with the promise that he can become a “real boy” if he can prove that he is “brave, truthful, and unselfish”. To do so, he will have to overcome temptation and learn to listen to his conscience, which is supplemented by the wisdom of Jiminy Cricket.

Pinocchio’s adventures proceed at a rapid clip as he goes from school to stage to cage and then on to Pleasure Island and eventually the belly of a sea monster. The perils he faces make him appreciate his loving father and his nose’s propensity for growing when he lies encourages the development of moral judgment. The story moves along briskly and the movie is colorful, the sets are charming, and the film is well made. Unfortunately, none of the technical skill demonstrated in this production can overcome its basic flaw - itisn’t fun to watch.

Pinocchio is the cinematic equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. It’s the little things, like terrible Italian accents. If Disney wants Italian accents, why not hire Italian actors? Why on earth cast Angus Wright, whose accent is so appalling it made me want to slap my computer screen? And why are Geppetto’s clocks product placements for other films? (There’s a Toy Story clock and a Lady and the Tramp clock and a Sleeping Beauty clock, among others.) Why would director Robert Zemeckis want to remind viewers that Disney is capable of making better films while we’re all trapped in this one? Then, there’s the whole problem of stealing scenes from other films. This movie completely recycles the magical tears from Tangled but with far less emotional weight and inferior animation. Finally (and I promise to stop ranting), why does Geppetto go on a potentially dangerous trip while carrying around a goldfish in a bowl?

If you’re less fussy than this disgruntled movie critic, and if you have a childhood passion for the animated Pinocchio, it’s possible that you’ll enjoy the movie. The only issue of concern for parents is the plot-related violence and peril which is critical to the plot but may frighten young children. (The whole getting-swallowed-by-a-giant-sea-creature bit is every bit as scary now as it was when I was six.) The movie teaches positive lessons about honesty, resisting temptation, helping others, and accepting family members for who they really are, and these themes might, just maybe, hit the spot for your family. There’s no magic here – apparently the producers failed to wish upon a star – but there’s basic competence. Sadly, I don’t think that’s enough.

Directed by Robert Zemeckis. Starring Tom Hanks, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Running time: 111 minutes. Theatrical release September 8, 2022. Updated

Watch the trailer for Pinocchio

Rating & Content Info

Why is Pinocchio rated PG? Pinocchio is rated PG by the MPAA for peril/scary moments, rude material and some language.

Violence: A character’s coat catches fire but is soon put out. A young character accidentally causes a fire. A child is deceived and abducted. Main characters are trapped or locked up. Kids play with fireworks and one gets injured. Children destroy things for fun. Children are transformed into animals and attacked by shadow creatures who put them in cages and are intended to be shipped to salt mines. A character is hit with a pool cue and has a dangerous fall. A protagonist is chased by shadow monsters. Characters are swallowed by a giant sea monster before eventually escaping. A character is hit in the head with an anchor.
Sexual Content:   A male character is embarrassed to discover that he’s patting the backside of a female figurine.
Profanity: A mild slang anatomical term is used.
Alcohol / Drug Use:   None noted.

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Pinocchio Parents' Guide

Pinnochio is told that he’s going to have to overcome temptation. What temptations does he face? How do they dissuade him from doing the things he knows he should do? Do you ever face temptations that persuade you to do things you know you shouldn’t or to avoid doing things you know you should? How do you keep focused on making choices that you believe are right? Are there people in your life who are good influences and who help you become a better person?

Loved this movie? Try these books…

The book that inspired the movie is Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. Parents should be aware that this is darker than the film with a protagonist who sometimes behaves badly. Don’t read it to your kids without reviewing it first.

If you want a safer bet, you can read Walt Disney’s classic version of Pinocchio, as written by Steffi Fletcher and Al Dempster.

For a visually appealing version of the tale, you can try Agnese Baruzzi’s Pinocchio: A Cut-Paper Book.

Home Video

Related home video titles:

This live action version is based on the 1940 animated Pinocchio by Disney. A stop motion version will also stream on Netflix in October 2022.

An animated Pinocchio makes an appearance in Shrek and Shrek 2.

If it’s puppets you’re after, Muppets from Space, Muppet Treasure Island, The Muppet Movie, and The Muppets provide plenty of zany fun for the whole family.

For better stories about toys who are actually real, watch the films in the beloved Toy Story franchise. The first film is followed by Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, and Toy Story 4.