I remember "Pinocchio" as being the first Disney movie I ever saw, although a half-century later such memories might be suspect, although I am pretty sure that the main thing I remember walking out of the movie theater way back when was Monstro the Whale. My main impression this time was that the animation is rougher than I recalled. Of course this makes perfect sense, because this 1940 movie is the first full-length animated film that Disney released after "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
," although the studio was working on "Bambi
" at the same time. But in my mind I had the level of animation being more akin to what we see in "Cinderella
." But compare the level of animation here with "Steamboat Willie," the first Mickey Mouse
cartoon, and you can see the quantum leap that Disney had already taken in the field. When the American Film Institute did its "Ten Top Ten" lists, "Pinocchio" was number two on the list after "Snow White," a judgment that reflects the monumental historical importance of that first cartoon movie, because judged by creative standards "Pinocchio" is the superior film.
Watching "Pinocchio" again and going through all of the bonus features on this 70th anniversary Platinum Edition DVD served to reinforce the idea that Walt Disney
was a genius, a fact that needs to be driven home to those generation of Disney fans who have been born after his death and do not remember him hosting "The Wonderful World of Disney" on Sunday nights. The two things that stood out to me where the fact that when Walt took that first big gamble with "Snow White" (critics the colors are too bright, they will hurt people's eyes to watch a cartoon that runs an hour), he already had his new two animated features in the pipeline, and that he insisted the songs in his movies move the story along. Both of those ideas are taken for granted today, but you have to put things in the context of the times. Walt Disney is the Moses who gets animation from "Gertie the Dinosaur" to the latest computer animated effort from the folks at Pixar. The mantle might have been passed, but let's not forget who the person responsible for the mantle.
Kids might like the Games & Activities included on the second disc in this set and may even recognize Meaghan Jette Martin, who sings the updated version of "When You Wish Upon a Star" in the requisite music video (Sorry, nothing tops Cliff Edwards as Jiminy Cricket singing that particular song). For me the attraction is all of the Bakcstage Disney materials, with the Never-Before-Seen Deleted Scens and Alternat Ending, the All-New "Making of 'Pinocchio'" featurette and the proverbial "Much, Much More!" From the start, these Platinum Editions from Disney have been designed to cater to those of us who want to be more than casual fans of these classic full-length cartoons. When they began putting these out the gold standard in DVD extras were the Criterion Collection films, but these Disney Platinum Editions routinely exceed those efforts. We would be happy just to have this film on DVD, but Disney is committed to preserving its legacy by treating these classic films like cinematic heirlooms. I have not seen a Disney Plantinum Edition that was not worth owning, and if for some reason you felt compelled to limit yourself to only five of them, then "Pinocchio" would have to be one of those five. Actually, I think if you only had one of them, this would be the one (although "