PINOCCHIO The Signature Collection Blu-ray Review

Pinocchio is one of the more celebrated animated films of all time. The 1940 classic from Walt Disney Productions works as a morality tale fitted with a fantastical concept. Despite the film’s initial box office problems, it has more than made up for it over time as far as remaining prevalent in pop culture and serving as a shining example of what came out of classic hand-drawn animation studios. Now the film has joined Disney’s Signature Collection (whatever that means) and has been fitted with an all-new Blu-ray containing new extra features, as well as many of the classics bonuses as well.

THE MOVIE

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This film tells the story of a wooden marionette who comes to life, following a wish from his creator Geppetto. Pinocchio, the wooden marionette, is happy to have life thanks to the Blue Fairy, but is also as naïve as they come. Fortunately he has a talking cricket named Jiminy Cricket, who has been assigned to serve as Pinocchio’s conscience. Ideally this means Pinocchio can go through his days, making the right decisions, but temptation and unsavory characters have a way of disrupting the wooden boy’s goals of using his bravery to help him become a real boy.

I don’t think I have seen Pinocchio in over a couple decades, but this film truly does impress. While fairly simple, the story’s structure allows for a variety of impressive animation sequences that go hand in hand with the strong character work/animation. Just watching the opening minutes, which focus on Geppetto, his pets and Jiminy, really sell you on the work Disney went through to step it up a level from Snow White.  That, of course, speaks nothing of just how wild the film truly gets with the animation, as it goes on.

Jumping way ahead, while Pinocchio is largely remembered for its key songs “When You Wish Upon a Star” (which won an Oscar) and “I’ve Got No Strings”, how about the whole Monstro sequence? Animated films have come very far, but there is an entire action sequence involving a giant blue whale that is as thrilling today as it ever was. In addition to things like Pleasure Island or the show by Stromboli, Monstro allows the film to really show off the fine and ambitious work by the animators.

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There’s also the nature of this story and Pinocchio himself. His innocence leads to a variety of scenarios that have the film feel somewhat episodic, but never unengaging. There is enough music and colorful characters to keep the film’s momentum alive, but the core is watching this little wooden boy deal with the level of reality provided for him. Yes, it’s outlandish, as this is a fantasy, but it’s also quite interesting to see a story deal so heavily with both morality and the benefits of living a middle-class life.

Given all the innovation utilized to make this film come alive and just how effective it still is as an animated feature today, Pinocchio certainly earns its status as one of the most celebrated animated classics. It’s a fun film, with some strong messages and truly inventive visuals, considering the difficulty involved at the time of its conception. No strings held this film down at all.

VIDEO QUALITY

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While the video transfer is the same used for the 2009 70th anniversary release of this film, it is no less impressive. Pinocchio looks fantastic with its AVC-encoded 1080p transfer, with plenty of effort to show off an immaculate frame-by-frame remastering.  The colors look phenomenal here, as the rich look of this film plays well to what a Blu-ray can really show off. All of this was done without the film feeling overworked, as the level of detail stands out, without feeling off in any way. The black levels are deep and rich and any instance of grain is merely a product of the film’s age. It’s a terrific transfer.

AUDIO QUALITY

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Once again, the film’s 7.1 DTS-HD audio track is identical to the previous release. That said, while the video is basically flawless, the audio is merely pretty good. The 7.1 remaster feels like overkill, since the film does not do much with it, even if this is essentially the best-sounding version of Pinocchio ever. There is a mono mix available, which is basically how one would have originally heard the film, but there is just an element on the main track that keeps the film from feeling consistently amazing in the same way the video does. Not a bad track, just not the highlight of this package.

THE SUPPLEMENTS

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This new release features a mix of new extra features and a collection of extras from the previous release. There is also the benefit of a fun new menu and other little Blu-ray goodies to make this release a decent double-dip for those concerned with what else they get that is new.

Features Include:

  • NEW The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon A Star – A look at the making of a new music video of “When You Wish Upon a Star” and the video itself.
  • NEW Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island – A look at the development of this key sequence from the film.
  • NEW In Walt’s Words – PinocchioArchival footage featuring Walt Disney.
  • NEW Oswald The Lucky Rabbit in “Poor Papa” – A vintage animated short.
  • Song Selection
  • Audio Commentary by Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman
  • No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio
  • Deleted Scenes
  • The Sweatbox
  • Geppettos Then and Now
  • Live-Action Reference Footage
  • Publicity
  • When you Wish Upon A Star Music Video by Meaghan Jette Martin
  • A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio
  • Storyboard-To-Film Final Comparison

THE BOTTOM LINE: 4 ½ out of 5

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This seems like the ultimate version of Pinocchio, until a 4K release occurs. The film continues to be terrific and looks and sounds better than ever. There are also enough new extras and general presentation bonuses to make this new release plenty worthwhile for fans who have already taken in this little wooden boy in Hi-Def. This was a great film to revisit and it certainly benefits from the Blu-ray format and the collection of extras present.

PINOCCHIO: THE SIGNATURE COLLECTION Blu-ray Review
  • The Movie
  • Video Quality
  • Audio Quality
  • The Supplements
  • The Bottom Line
4.6

About the author

Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Video Game Player, Comic Book Reader, Disc Gofer, and a Lefty. There are too many films, TV shows, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com, and check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.