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Pinocchio Special Edition (R2) Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by James Reader, Mar 1, 2003.

  1. James Reader

    James Reader Screenwriter

    Mar 10, 2002
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    Pinocchio Special Edition (R2) Review

    As you may or may not know the new 'Special Edition' is not a 'Special Edition' in the 'Beauty and the Beast' or 'Lion King' sense in that no new footage has been added. However the film has been extensively restored and a number of supplements are included on this new release.

    I'll get to the supplements later, first the film:

    I owned an imported copy of the R1 'Gold Collection' release (which itself was a re-release of the earlier 'Limited Edition' release) and like a lot of people here I would expect, had no complaints about the image quality.

    However the film has recently be restored by the same company responsible for the 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' restoration. Too be honest, although I cannot do a straight A-B comparison having giving my other disc to a friend in anticipation of the new release, I doubt the picture improvements are that dramatic. That said the image is superb – perhaps a little dark, but that could simply be reflecting the original presentation.

    I am however annoyed that the only soundtrack on the disc is a new Dolby Digital 5.1 remix of the original mono soundtrack – I would much rather listen to the mono track! This is a personal bugbear of mine, but it's especially annoying when the disc isn't filled with other European language soundtracks.

    (Note to other European readers: the disc only has English Soundtrack and Subtitle options, something that is very unusual for a European R2 release. Perhaps this means the mainland European releases will have slightly different content?)

    The Supplements:

    I cannot help but feel that this re-release has been rushed to the market. Nothing in the supplements suggests that a great deal of thought or effort were used in their selections.

    There is a set-top game – the Search for Jiminy Cricket. I must admit that I have not looked at this yet, but I doubt that there is anything different about this game from all the others on other Disney discs. Success if rewarded with a Pluto and Figaro cartoon. (To return to my point about time and effort, wouldn't the short 'Figaro and Cleo', which features 2 characters from the movie, be more appropriate?)

    A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio – a short documentary which was previously available on the Laserdisc release of the film. I must say for the short running time (around five minutes) it is actually quite informative (I found out how they achieved the underwater effect) but it only makes me want to see a much more in-depth documentary on the making of the film.

    There are two song-a-longs – 'Little Wooden Head' from the film and 'Figaro and Cleo' which is actually from the 'Figaro and Cleo' short. Why not simply include the whole short?

    Storyboard to Final Film Comparison – does what it says on the tin. Unlike some of the more recent storyboard comparisons, the storyboards are quite sparse. I understand this too is ported from the Laserdisc.

    Original 1940 Trailer – This was on the previous disc and is still probably the highlight of the supplements. It's interesting to see how films were marketed in those days.

    2 "I'm No Fool" Shorts featuring Jiminy Cricket – It's interesting to note that while these were what convinced me to 'upgrade' my existing disc, they are not even mentioned on the disc's packaging! Sometimes I wonder if Disney really are so incompetent that they are ignorant of the appeal of such content to the older Disney collector, or if the know, but just treat their adult fan base with contempt.

    These sorts are obviously made for television and suffer from poorer quality animation, but are wonderful to see (for the first time in my case). However, going back to the lack of thought put into the disc a wide number of these educational shorts were made, some featuring Jiminy Cricket and Pinocchio. Wouldn't it be better for one of the selected shorts to feature Pinocchio too?

    All in all, a fine presentation of the film, with some interesting supplements. But I know Disney could do better – a lot better, so I have no hesitation in advising non UK readers to wait and see what their localised release of the film will contain before buying the UK version.
  2. Douglas R

    Douglas R Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2000
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    Thanks for the review James. I was wondering whether it was worthwhile upgrading my original R2 disc but it seems probably not - even though I'd like to have the Jiminy Cricket shorts.

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