Monday, April 4, 2011

Disney's Pinocchio Part III

OK, where did we leave off? Oh right, Pinocchio is hanging from a tree. The moral of the story is that cocky, selfish little boys will get their just desserts. The original story wasn't really meant for kids though. Think of the original Pinocchio as a cautionary tale in the same vein as a Grimm's Fairy Tales. It's geared to make kids afraid of disobeying their parents. Pinocchio was a jerk, so he got hung in the end. Collodi's editor thought that it would make a better story specifically for children, and asked that the ending be changed. Collodi decided to listen to his editor and added a large portion to his work.
So, we have to rewind a tiny bit. Let's go back to the part where Pinocchio bites off the cat's hand. Pinocchio gets away and instead of being caught right away, he reaches a white house. When he knocks, a fairy with turquoise hair greets him. Before he can really start talking to her, the cat and the fox catch up with him and hang him from a tree. They get tired of waiting to see him suffocate, so they leave the scene. The blue haired fairy sends a falcon and a poodle to rescue Pinocchio. I can see why a falcon might be able to help, but a poodle? Do they even have poodles in Italy? The fairy then calls on three famous doctors to tell if Pinocchio is alive or not. Oh, by the way, the famous doctors are also animals, an owl, a crow, and a cricket. It's the same cricket that Pinocchio supposedly killed in act one back from the dead to scold Pinocchio. The owl and the crow can't tell if Pinocchio is dead or not, but the cricket knows he's fine and proceeds to tell Pinocchio that he's been very bad and has hurt his father.

The blue fairy then asks Pinocchio where the gold coins are. He lies and tells her that he lost them. Bad move. His nose grows. And it keeps growing because Pinocchio doesn't know when to shut up. The fairy explains to Pinocchio that his nose will grow anytime he tells a lie, so he better watch what he says. Unlike in the Disney version, Pinocchio's nose does not go back to normal eventually. The fairy has to send a group of woodpeckers to hammer his nose back to normal.

Things start to get weird again. Not that it isn't already weird, but this story keeps surprising me. The fairy and Pinocchio decide to become brother and sister and the fairy has her animal minions send for Gepetto so he can live in the forest with them. It's not like he has a perfectly good house to live in. It's possible that they could not live in the woods. I don't know, I didn't think they were out of options. Pinocchio decides to go out to meet his father but runs into the cat and the fox again. He apparently cannot see past simple disguises because he didn't know that they were the bandits that just tried to rob him. It should be painfully obvious with the cat's paw being gone, but no, Pinocchio decides that these two are trustworthy. They remind him of the field of miracles and off they go. The reach the city of Catchfools, where all that live there suffer for their foolishness. Pinocchio goes to the "Field of Dreams" and finds only a baseball field. Not really, but that would be awesome. He gets there and buries his gold coins, then goes away to wait the twenty minutes it will take for the tree to grow. He comes back twenty minutes later and finds no tree, and even worse, no money. Even though his brain, if he has one, is made out of wood, he realizes that he's been tricked. He goes to the judge in Catchfools to complain about the fox and the cat, but as is the custom in Catchfools, is thrown in jail for his foolishness. Pinocchio is quickly released though, because the emperor of Catchfools declares a celebration and all prisoners are set free. If we ran on that kind of system, we'd be screwed.

Collodi must of been high for at least some of the writing of this story. Proof: Pinocchio heads back to the forest but a snake with a smoking tail is blocking his way. Pinocchio assumes it's dead so he tries to step over it. The snake jumps up and hisses at Pinocchio and makes Pinocchio fall down on his head. Struck by Pinocchio's fright and his comical position, the snake begins to laugh. He laughs so hard in fact, that he bursts an artery and dies. Yep. So to recap: Snake with smoking tail, falling down, laughing, death. Collodi must of really hated snakes.

Pinocchio makes it back to the fairies cottage, only to find a gravestone. Assuming that the fairy is dead, Pinocchio begins to weep. He cries until a pigeon offers to give him a ride to Gepetto who is on the seashore about to set sail to find Pinocchio. Why Gepetto assumed that Pinocchio was out to sea, I have no idea. Pinocchio rides the pigeon to the sea but they are too late. Gepetto has set sail. Pinocchio leaps into the sea but is swept underwater. He comes up to see Gepetto get swallowed by a large shark.

A dolphin offers a ride to Pinocchio and they go to the nearest island, where he runs into the blue fairy. She is now old enough to be his mother and takes on that role, telling him to go to school because it will help him become a real boy. OK, has Pinocchio really forgotten about Gepetto? I mean, he just got eaten by a shark! Here's a short version of the next big part: Pinocchio plays hooky, gets in a fight, gets arrested, gets chased by a dog into the sea, rescues drowning dog, becomes best friend with dog, caught in ogre's fishing net, dog saves Pinocchio, Pinocchio goes home, snail answers door, Pinocchio kicks door and gets stuck, Blue fairy gives him another chance, does well in school, goes to invite friends to party, meets Candlewick. Candlewick tells Pinocchio of the land of play, a place where you play all day and never work. He goes with Candlewick there and plays for a very long time until one day he wakes up with donkey ears. A squirrel shows up and tells Pinocchio that that's what happens to people that don't work. Communist squirrel! Also, why a squirrel? Why not a human being? Are animals on the same level as humans in this book?

This is seriously the dumbest book ever. Just wanted to get that out there. Pinocchio becomes a full on jack-ass and is sold to a circus. He brakes his leg and like every horse like creature, he needs to be put out of his misery. Since they didn't have shotguns back then, they attempted to drown Pinocchio in the sea. When they pull him up though, he is a wooden boy again. He explains that a fish ate all the donkey skin off of him. Seriously, what's wrong with this story? What kid wants to hear this? Pinocchio is then let out to sea and is promptly eaten by a large dogfish. Inside he finds Gepetto who has been living inside the shark with his raft. Oh, whats that? I said it was a whale at first, then a dogfish, and then a shark? Well, Collodi apparently couldn't make up his mind on what creature eats the main characters in this story. Pinocchio and Gepetto get out of the shark/whale/dogfish and swim back to shore. How'd they get out? It doesn't say. ANOTHER PLOT HOLE!

They get to shore and go back to the woods. Along the way they meet the cat and fox, who are now actually blind and lame. They ask Pinocchio for money, but he doesn't listen to them. He leaves them to their demise. Pinocchio is totally cold-blooded! I mean, he lets people go to jail for him, bites off a cat's hand, makes a snake implode, fights a boy, and then denies destitute animals. They find a small house and find that the cricket lives there. He says they can stay there as long as they work. Communist cricket! Pinocchio gets a job working for a farmer. While he is there, he notices that the farmer's dying donkey is none other than Candlewick. Pinocchio mourns his stupid, stupid friend. He mourns his donkey friend, but not once did he grieve over losing Gepetto. This kid has his priorities straight. After some time, Gepetto is ill and Pinocchio has to take care of him. When Pinocchio goes out to get some supplies, the snail comes and tells him that the fairy is dying and needs the money that Pinocchio has made from his job. Pinocchio gives the snail the money and returns home. That night he dreams that he is kissed by the blue fairy. OK, so first they are strangers, then siblings, then mother and son, but now she is kissing him in his dreams. Ugh. Pinocchio wakes up to find that he is a real boy, has a new suit and shoes, and a bag full of gold coins. Not only that, but Gepetto is all better. They all live happily ever after...except the cat, the fox, the snake, and Candlewick.

So, as you can see, Disney had to rework a couple things, as in most of it. You'll notice that the only character that they added was the coachman. But, it was basically like Disney was writing the story from scratch since the original was so freaking disturbing.

Disney's Pinocchio released in 1940 and was critically acclaimed in the U.S. and did well. This was not the same result worldwide however. WWII kept Pinocchio out of many foreign countries til after the war which greatly hurt the movies gross. The movie cost Disney 2.28 million and the movie made only 1.42 million. So, thanks to Hitler, Pinocchio wasn't a big financial hit like Snow White. With subsequent re-releases and adjusting for inflation, the movie has, in total, grossed over 84 million. The movie did go on to win Oscars for Best Song (When You Wish Upon A Star) and Best Score. This is the first competitive Oscar that Disney won and would be the only Disney movie to win both those Oscars until Mary Poppins. Pinocchio today is considered one of the greatest Disney films, both in story and animation. The effects animation alone set the standard for all animated films afterward.

In my opinion, I'm glad that Walt Disney created a different version from the original. I thought the donkey transformation scene and Monstro were terrifying enough. I can't imagine what I would of thought as a child if I had seen all the stuff in the original Pinocchio story.

1 comment:

  1. This story is all over the place. I can see how he wanted it to be a series...Pinocchio's misadventures.