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  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Greek: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
    English, Czech, Greek, Hungarian, English - Hearing Impaired, Croatian, Slovenian
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 2 Featurette
  • Animated menus
  • Behind the scenes footage
  • Digitally remastered
  • 2 Karaoke
  • Storyboards
  • Documentaries
  • Interactive game

Pinocchio: SE

Buena Vista/Buena Vista . R4 . COLOR . 84 mins . G . PAL


After 63 years, the Disney Pinocchio’s little wooden head finally lands on DVD. It’s the story of a lonely woodcarver, Gepetto, who makes himself a marionette for companionship. Being of sound mind and body, he wishes it to be granted life. Lo and behold, in a classic Disney casting, the Blue Fairy (whoever she is) turns up and grants the wish - if only Pinocchio can prove himself worthy. So the puppet has life and seeks to be ‘truthful, brave and unselfish’ before he can be granted full ‘Real Boy’ status.

Sure the plot’s simplistic, even childish, but it makes for interesting viewing animation-wise. Being only the second of a long line of follow-up animated features, Disney were still finding their way around animation problems and pitfalls. A wide variety of animation techniques (taken for granted today) were actually invented for this film. Underwater sequences and animated backgrounds were among the state of the art included in this early masterwork and help add depth to what was formerly a fairly flat medium.

"I never thought it would end like this - starving to death in the belly of a whale!"

As a feature, it’s interesting to note that animated films were for everyone, including adults, back then. I mean dyed-in-the-wool adults here too, not just mothers-with-kids-during-the-school-holidays, because the medium was so new and cutting edge. Unfortunately, with our modern demands, the film’s animation isn’t really enough to carry the story for adult viewers, as it doesn’t have anything very mind-blowing at all. For the kids though, you’ve a great babysitter for a wet Saturday afternoon in this DVD.


The transfer has been done incredibly well. The film holds up well for its age and has been fully restored, but being DVD we have the 'unfortunate' clarity that allows us to see every tiny dust mote or fibre on the cels as they’re shot to film. This is an ancient problem for animators everywhere that is only now being weeded out with nearly everything being cleaned on computers these days. Also, artwork and technique are quite visible a lot of the time in the image being so clear.

Watercoloured backgrounds are really very evident in parts and this could work for or against you, depending on your views. The quality looks fantastic though, but as is to be expected of such an old film, it is seen in our old friend the 1.33.1 full frame. Oh well. Other than that the blacks are black, the bright shiny colours are bright and shiny and the shadows are lit well.


They’ve gone to town on the old soundtrack as well, presenting us with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. This brings to light the classic Disney anthem When You Wish Upon a Star as it has never sounded before, but as for everything else, there probably wasn’t a real need for such quality of sound. But still, if you’re restoring a film, you might as well do all of it, right? Some of the music is quite dated (does anyone even use cymbals anymore?) and is used rather than sound effects in parts, but that’s okay. Most of the SFX are fitting and don’t crush the dialogue, and are even understated in parts. The dialogue is nice and clear too, which is important when you have so many characters speaking in accents or in the voices of no-goodnik street sharps. These dubious characters abound as well. I give you J. Worthington Foulfellow, Raggle-Taggle Gideon, the Villainous Coachman and Lampwick, the tough little boy your folks never wanted you to play with.


Bonus features seemingly abound in this one, but upon closer inspection there isn’t so much after all. There is a pretty lame game, The Search for Jiminy Cricket, in which you must answer questions of conscience to find Jiminy’s stuff, before being granted access to the place he’s hiding, where you answer more questions to find him. Sigh. The questions, too, are about as subtle as a snowshovel to the back of the head and four strikes, yer out! It’s GAME OVER with a searing statement about the state of yer conscience from the Blue Fairy. Yipe!

There’s a strange old documentary about The Making of Pinocchio, but it looks more like an ad for potential investors rather than a real ‘making of’. When the nation demands ‘more dwarfs’ for the second film, it turns out that (and I quote) "Walt was too original for that." (So he took someone else’s story instead and made that a film - real original.) The best part of this mini-doc though, is seeing the quality of the film before restoration. It will make you appreciate this version, without doubt.

There are two Sing Along songs which are usual Disney fare, and two incredibly outdated instructional Featurettes by Jiminy Cricket on having fun safely and not playing with fire. You don’t often hear someone called stupid in a Disney feature anymore.

On top of that there are four minutes of Storyboard to Final Film Comparison, which look great compared to some of the Disney storyboards I’ve worked with. How times change. Also included is the original Theatrical Trailer (which again, looks like an ad for potential investors). The DVD jacket claims there are countless hours of bonus extras, but I couldn’t find where they were hidden at all...


With animated menus and so many cultures catered for in the languages and subtitles, this is a fairly nice package, and one that should keep the young’uns busy for at least a coupla hours anyway. I don't think it rates among Disney's best, but they were just starting out, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt. Hopefully they'll find their feet if they get to make another movie sometime...

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2594
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      And I quote...
    "A great babysitter for the kids on a wet Saturday afternoon."
    - Jules Faber
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Nintaus DVD-N9901
    • TV:
          Sony 51cm
    • Receiver:
    • Speakers:
    • Surrounds:
          No Name
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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