Five questions we still have for “Pinocchio”
This week’s installment of, “What was Disney thinking with some of the stuff in this movie?” focuses on the 1940 classic Pinocchio, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ second-ever animated feature film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This movie is about a wooden doll that comes to life because a lonely (albeit sweet) old wood-carver wants a son and doesn’t understand how adoption works, or something.
Regardless, Pinocchio was a highly praised film that went on to be the first animated movie to win Academy Awards (for its music, including the to-this-day classic song, “When You Wish Upon a Star”). And the movie’s true star, Jiminy Cricket, taught us that dreaming is where magic really starts – and even today, kid and adult Disney fans alike still hold that message close to their hearts.
But like all Disney movies, Pinocchio also has its questionable moments. So without further ado, here are five questions we still have.
Why can some of the animals talk and some can’t?
Kindly wood-carver Geppetto has two pets – Figaro the cat and Cleo the fish – who have personalities, but can’t walk around on two legs or talk to humans. Fair. Most people would admit their pets have personalities. But Jiminy Cricket can do those things (and “be a conscience,” somehow), as can troublemakers Gideon the Cat and Honest John (LOL like that name doesn’t raise any red flags) the Fox. I’d have less of an issue if the animals were different species, but why is Gideon human-like and Figaro isn’t? This is Goofy and Pluto all over again, and even that still makes me uncomfortable.
Why is there literally only one female character?
If you’re going to have one female character (not counting Cleo the fish), I guess it’s cool that she’s a beautiful fairy with great advice, a stellar fashion sense, perfect hair, and a magic wand. But throughout the movie, it seems like the Blue Fairy’s only job is to grant wishes to dudes and teach lessons to puppets through insect consciences, which leaves a lot to be desired.
If there’s one big misstep in Pinocchio, the Blue Fairy’s lack of screen time and purpose is it. Although, not unlike Mary Martin as Peter Pan, I do appreciate that the character of Pinocchio has sometimes been portrayed by women over the years – perhaps most notably, by Sandy Duncan in 1976. This version also features the flawless Danny Kaye as Geppetto, whom I will always love because of White Christmas.
Um, is this cute or just really creepy?
I’m not sure if this is supposed to be cute, but it legitimately gave me nightmares.
In my defense, any and all stories about puppets or dolls coming to life are basically about them deciding to go on a murdering spree: the Puppet Master movies, those Night of the Living Dummy books from Goosebumps, the Child’s Play films, and even those creepy Stevil episodes of Family Matters. I can’t even think of one aside from Pinocchio that ends on a high note. I do not get involved in that mess, and I don’t get why no one in this movie saw this as a problem. I honestly couldn’t even get through the Jonathan Taylor Thomas version, The Adventures of Pinocchio (and y’all know how I feel about JTT).
Where are these Pleasure Island-frequenting kids’ parents?
So, as kids, were we not supposed to know all these kids were gambling, smoking, and drinking at Pleasure Island? I mean, Walt Disney World actually opened a section of Downtown Disney called Pleasure Island that was full of nothing but themed bars (which has since closed, sob). But yeah, random boys craving adventure just hop on a wagon and their parents are like, “OK, see ya! One less mouth to feed!”? Something is definitely missing here. And did no one watch the news and notice that boys who had gone off with the promise of coming back at some point had just conveniently never returned? K.
In what world would a fire ignite inside Monstro the whale’s stomach?
Let’s pretend for a second that the inside of a whale’s stomach is, indeed, conveniently hollow enough to survive in like you’re just in a really big, fishy-smelling cave. You’re telling me there isn’t enough moisture in that atmosphere to have to switch to a plan B when someone is like, “OMG I KNOW, LET’S START A FIRE TO MAKE HIM SNEEZE US OUT!” I’m not saying I’m MacGyver or anything, but Pinoch, you’re literally made of wood. Splinters are extremely painful, and probably could’ve gotten you somewhere without propelling you a million feet forward to the point where you and your dad almost drowned.
I also still really need to know what would happen if Pinocchio had said, “My nose grows now.” *Taps temple with index finger* Think about it.