As Disney+ comes off a weekend packed full of news and reveals from Star Wars Celebration, it’s rather quietly dropped the trailer this Monday morning for its newest live-action adaptation of its classic animated film, Pinocchio, coming from director Robert Zemeckis. While the only good look you get of the titular puppet is in the still above, you can tell that Disney is determined to make the live-action version as much like the animated movie as possible — for good or ill.
I revel in no small amount of irony at the title card declaring this film is from the studio that brought you the CGI Lion King (the 2019 version) that was poorly received by critics, and deemed passable enough for a family audience. But with some actual cast members on set, Pinocchio is an opportunity for Disney to show off its ability to merge animation and live-action. While that could lead to a more exciting final product, putting the real-life Tom Hanks next to anthropomorphized CG versions of Jiminy Cricket and Honest John doesn’t feel like it’s doing either medium any favours. More importantly, the idea of having to watch the scene where those real kids turn into CG donkeys hybrids — a scene already completely terrifying when it was done solely in 2D animation — could send this version of Pinocchio into truly twisted territory. And let’s not forget Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion adaptation of the folk tale is also set to release in December of this year.
The film stars Tom Hanks as Gepetto, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth as the titular Pinocchio, Cynthia Erivo appears as the Blue Fairy who gives the puppet life, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt provides the voice for Jiminy Cricket.
Pinocchio will premiere on Disney+ on Disney+ Day, September 8.
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