This Pinocchio, from 1984, is possibly the worst remake in movie history. The original, 1940, Disney Pinocchio, was one of the greatest movies ever made, with Oscar-winning music and songs by Leigh Harline, Paul Smith and Ned Washington; an alternately scary and hilarious story; vivid characters; striking animation; and gifted voice performers. By contrast, this Japanese-American version has a limp screenplay; forgettable characters; lousy voice acting; and animation that wouldn't pass muster for the cheesiest, PBS TV cartoon show. That IMDB doesn't list the names of any of the voice performers, may be a blessing for their careers. Get the original Pinocchio, and avoid this one like a bad street.
Now to the problem: Disney has inexplicably discontinued the original Pinocchio. Thus, the only way to view it is via expensive used copies on sale through Amazon ($36-45), or through renting it from a video outlet. I hope that the geniuses at Disney aren't preparing to loose a politically correct replacement on the world. Hopefully, they have a deluxe DVD in the works. Prayers may be called for.
Originally published in The Critical Critic, November 8, 2003.