HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Intergalactic Adventures of Max Cloud, The
Spoilers, The
Killer Therapy
Man Upstairs, The
Bloodhound, The
New Mutants, The
Tesla
Flame of New Orleans, The
Ham on Rye
Imperial Blue
Tenet
August 32nd on Earth
Don is Dead, The
Seven Sinners
Body of Water
Away
Soul
About Endlessness
Let It Snow
Ava
Deliver Us from Evil
Shark Attack 3: Megalodon
Midnight Sky, The
Lego Star Wars Holiday Special, The
Mon Oncle Antoine
Blast of Silence
Blackout, The
Stars in Your Eyes
Alone
Climate of the Hunter
Farewell Amor
Let's Scare Julie
Okko's Inn
Shaolin vs. Wu Tang
Fatman
Butt Boy
Dog of Flanders, The
Bushido Blade, The
Jiu Jitsu
Blind
   
 
Newest Articles
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
   
 
  Pinocchio No Strings Attached
Year: 2019
Director: Matteo Garrone
Stars: Federico Ielapi, Roberto Benigni, Rocco Papaleo, Massimo Ceccherini, Marine Vacth, Gigi Proietti, Alida Baldari Calabria, Alessio Di Domenicantonio, Maria Pia Tomo, Davide Marotta, Paolo Graziosi, Massimiliano Gallo, Gianfranco Gallo, Teco Cellio
Genre: FantasyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Geppetto (Roberto Benigni) is a hungry man. He has tried chipping what cheese he can nibble from what's left of a rind, but that doesn't satisfy him, so he decides to put his carpentry skills to good use and try to drum up business at the local tavern. However, the keeper is not interested in having non-existent problems with his chair, table and door fixed, and is about to send Geppetto packing when he takes pity on him and gives him a small bowl of soup. Later, the carpenter goes to see the woodcutter he usually buys his materials from, to find him baffled and disturbed: he is sure that log he was trying to chop moved of its own accord...

Did the world really need another Pinocchio adaptation? Italian director Matteo Garrone evidently believed it did, and as this was a tale close to the hearts of Italians, many of his countrymen were happy to go along to watch it at the cinema, yet the fact that fantasy film expert Guillermo Del Toro also had a version in the pipeline, and star Benigni had even directed and starred in a version himself (as the puppet!), meant author Carlo Collodi was not exactly wanting for creatives to remake his most celebrated stories. But Walt Disney cast a long shadow, not an Italian, though his cartoon had been one of his studio's masterpieces - and scary, too.

The idea that Pinocchio (here played by Federico Ielapi) should be scary did not begin with Disney, it was all there in the source text as Collodi took great delight in having horrible things happen to the boy puppet that Geppetto crafts from that log. He seemed to be keen to tell off his characters, and by extension his readers, and that moralistic tone, positively stern, was difficult to carry over to films when the audience would be families, specifically those wanting to entertain their kids. Did they really want to see something that would make their little darlings scared and prompt tears? Garrone did not attempt to get around this issue, indeed some described this as strictly for adults.

The business that would appear to be unsuitable for the younglings was all taken from Collodi's stories, so yes, Pinocchio is hanged by the neck to get him to give up his coins, and as in the Disney he goes to the Land of Toys where he is transformed into a donkey with the other boys, but there was a difference in seeing that in hand-drawn animation and seeing it in photorealistic special effects. Couple that with a visual style that was muted at best, eschewing bright colours and splashy visuals in favour of a more restrained palette and delivery, and you had a result that was oddly moody in the manner it played out, with any fun to be had from the fantastical invention of the plot somewhat lacking. It was as if Garrone was folding his arms off camera, muttering "You’re not here to enjoy yourself!"

Given he had made his name internationally with the tough crime drama Gomorrah, perhaps that should be no surprise, and the moralising of the page was never far away, but he had also directed Tale of Tales, an anthology of peculiar fables that had more in common, technique-wise, with this Pinocchio. Some of the cast were in prosthetic makeups, though the fox and the cat were more reliant on their facial hair, and the Blue Fairy (model Marine Vacth) simply had what resembled a blue rinse for her scenes, but the puppet itself both appeared too close to human to make its wish to be a real boy relatable, yet unreal in its wooden look too, and not in a particularly endearing fashion - it was blatant they were trying to avoid Disney character copyright. Episodic, strange but a cold experience, even Benigni's mugging bookending the piece was not enough to lift the downbeat mood, not so much for the kids, more for adults who like to read unexpurgated Grimm's fairy tales for their own amusement. Music by Dario Marianelli.

[On digital from December 7, and on DVD from December 14.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 895 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
   

 

Last Updated: