Pinocchio (DVD) – Movie Review
Follow Genre: Drama, Fantasy
Director: Matteo Garrone
Distributor: Belga Home Video
Duration: 120 minutes

Pinocchio (DVD) – Movie Review

Site Score
Good: Atmosphere, Sets, Effects
Bad: Not for children, Complete chaos, Overacting
User Score
(4 votes)
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Rating: 6.8/10 (4 votes cast)

Even though Pinocchio was invented in 1883 by the Italian writer Carlo Collodi, many people will probably only know the 1940 Disney animated movie. This film was a bit depressing in nature, but it didn’t come close to the horrors Pinocchio had to face in Collodi’s book. This new Italian production tries to show the very grim side of the fairytale. While the DVD is rated ages 9 and up, we do not really recommend this movie for very young viewers, as it can get quite dark, gritty and dirty at times.

As expected, Pinocchio tells us the story of Geppetto (Roberto Benigni), who, unlike the Disney animated film, is actually a bit of a desperate carpenter looking for a new lucrative way of making money. While initially begging for work at the local tavern, he sees a man selling wooden puppets, and Geppetto then decides to make his own puppet. Upon receiving a big chunk of wood for free, he starts carving his masterpiece, which comes alive, even while unfinished. Geppetto tells the world he has a son now, and tries to raise him as such. This wooden being is called Pinocchio (Federico Ielapi), who will gradually learn how the world works. From here on out you can expect somewhat of the same shenanigans as in the animated classic, but things take a darker route, which even involves murder, ghoulish creatures and other nightmare fuel. This is based on the original novel after all.

There is no actual flow or pacing to Pinocchio, as more than often these are just different events that just so happen to succeed each other in rapid succession. The film feels like pure chaos and this actually can get on your nerves. It’s hard to describe the feeling that Pinocchio evokes due to its pacing, as the content unfolding on the screen looks straight from a horror film, while also providing you with beautiful decors and costumes. Sometimes the movie just doesn’t make a lick of sense, and this also translates into how relevant this movie would be for a younger audience.

Afraid of having to resort to stereotypes; this movie is very, well, Italian. The actors in this film stick to the image we often have of the generic Italian character in series and films. This means that all the cast members in the movie feel a bit too active, using an abundant amount of gestures, speaking very loudly, adding a lot of passion to the project, and this is something you either enjoy or simply hate. This way of presenting a film can be interesting, but it can also be very exhausting as it feels like there’s always tension, forcing you to never let your guard down, making you afraid to even blink. The cast does a proper job in bringing this film to life, but at times it all feels like a bit ‘too much’, which actually drags the experience down. There is hardly a calm scene to enjoy, even during the supposedly calm moments. Add some over-the-top acting to that equation and you have yourself a fairly stressful experience.

This DVD edition comes with no special movies at all, except for the advertisements of other films published by Belga Home Video. While we didn’t really enjoy the movie for how chaotic it was, the sceneries and even the special effects were extremely nicely handled for a non-Hollywood production. We were quite impressed by the visuals and the overall creative process, but sadly we cannot explore this aspect of the movie further. It feels like a massive missed opportunity not to add some ‘making of’ content to the physical release.


This live-action rendition of Pinocchio is very infuriating at times, simply because it is so chaotic. Underneath the mess that is the story and the overall flow of the movie, there are so many beautiful sceneries to explore, which would sometimes better suit a horror film than a story such as this. While Disney’s Pinocchio was also a fairly depressing film, this new rendition does not always feel like the perfect thing for younger children. The movie is somewhat gritty and vile, even hinting at homicide, making this a weird film to judge and grade. We decided on the halfway mark on this one, as it is an original take on the story, but we’re still not sure what we watched and if we liked it.

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Rating: 6.8/10 (4 votes cast)
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Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Pinocchio (DVD) - Movie Review, 6.8 out of 10 based on 4 ratings

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