Pinocchio: A True Story
Pinocchio: A True Story (Russian: Пиноккио. Правдивая история, Pinokkio. Pravdivaya istoriya) is a 2021 Russian-Hungarian-American computer fantasy animated film directed by Vasily Rovenskiy, and produced by Licensing Brands and Luminescence Kft (who also made Magic Arch) with the support of the National Cinema Fund. The film is based on the Italian book The Adventures of Pinocchio and its Russian version Buratino, with the most well-known US English dub starring Pauly Shore as the main character.
After being created by his father Geppetto out of wood, young Pinocchio runs away from home to see the world, joining a circus and falling in love with the ringmaster's girl. He then decides to become a real boy.
Why It's NOT A True Story
- Abysmal grasp of the original source material: The main problem with this film is that, despite it being called Pinocchio: A True Story, it has absolutely nothing to do with the original Pinocchio story, hence making the film's title incredibly misleading.
- For example, despite Pinocchio being the main character, we don't ever see him lying nor see his nose growing in the film. Not even once. Seriously, why even bother making a Pinocchio film if you're not even going to have it follow the original story?
- Speaking of not following the original story, the movie itself is aware that the story it's trying to tell is not part of the original. In fact, it even goes the extra mile by having Tybalt (a new annoying horse character) INSULT the original book and most other adaptions of it during the exposition by claiming the growing noses part of the original story is stupid, hence the reason why it's titled a "true" story.
- Some other famous aspects from the book were omitted as well, such as scenes including the hanging of Pinocchio (though to be fair, that wasn't in Disney's original 1940 film either) and the donkey transformation scene.
- By the way, the "true" story the movie presents is an extremely clichéd and generic love story, which makes no sense at all.
- The film feels like it was made solely to cash in on the other two Pinocchio films releasing that same year (Guillermo del Toro's stop-motion version and Disney's live-action remake by Robert Zemeckis).
- The entire plot is just incoherent, confusing and a complete mess.
- Most of the characters, spare Pinocchio and Geppetto, are really unlikable:
- The most notable example is Tybalt, who is nothing short of obnoxious, to the point where Pinocchio even has a fallout with him over it.
- Also, Bella tells Pinocchio that she doesn't even like him without explaining what really is going to happen to him, where Pinocchio has a fallout too with her because of this.
- Brionne and his goons serve no purpose throughout the story, and only exist to pad out the runtime and are, at best, a nuisance for Pinocchio and Tybalt. That is, except during the big plot twist at the end where it's revealed that Bella's his daughter all along, which comes out of nowhere and just gives them a reason to, well, exist.
- In fact, there are many, many instances of the breakup trope, to the point where it gets tiresome really fast. Even other bad films only used it once or twice, but here, it's done about four times.
- Unbelievably stupid and laughable dialogue, like Pinocchio saying "Let's go Tybalt, great adventures AWAIT! Ske-de, ske-de, ske-de, ske-de!"
- There are also instances where some of the dialogue, thanks to the abysmal execution, sounds like the character is saying something else. For example, the line "Mama mia! A wooden boy!" sounds more like "Mama mia! It wouldn't be!"
- Same goes for probably the most infamous line in the film, "Father, tell me, when can I leave to be on my own? I've got the whole world to see!", sounding more like "Father, tell me, when can I leave to be on my own? I've got the whole worldussy!"
- The animation looks a little bit outdated for 2021 standards and looks more like an Nickelodeon TV show from the early 2010s due to the rendering quality, some issues with the texturing, and how the characters move sometimes.
- For example, despite Pinocchio's character model coming off as decent, the same could not be said with how he was textured; all he really has to show that he's a puppet is a light wood texture on his skin. That's it. It's almost as if the character artists just slapped whatever wood texture they could find onto him and called it a day.
- The character movements can look completely stiff and unnatural at times. For instance, during the scene where Pinocchio gets shot by a cat, his animation reacts as if he was caught in an explosion rather than he was actually shot.
- This is inexcusable, because the other Licensing Brands films, including Magic Arch, have much better animation than this film.
- The US voice acting is really bad:
- Pauly Shore was horribly miscast; his voice really doesn't fit Pinocchio. In fact, he sounds overly flamboyant to the point where it became a meme, likely due to it sounding like a gay stereotype. Also, he sounds like he doesn't want to be here, and is phoning in his performance for a quick paycheck.
- The rest of the voice cast read much of their lines with little enthusiasm.
- Little effort was made to match the new dialogue with the mouth flaps.
- The "song" the cast sings at the film's climax does not rhyme, and sounds terrible.
- The writing is really bizarre; a lot of the things people talk about make very little sense.
- For example, during the scene where Geppetto is thinking of names for Pinocchio, he considers naming him Leonardo, only to decide against it because "he'd grow up to be a selfish actor, or an artist, or a turtle who only cares about pizza", referencing Leonardo DiCaprio, Leonardo da Vinci, and Leonardo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles respectively. Leonardo DiCaprio and Leonardo the Ninja Turtle, in particular, are the most interesting cases, as not only are they both out-of-place references that came out of nowhere, but given the timeline the film took place in, it would a century before any of them existed.
- Despite the dialogue being absolutely stupid, the terrible line execution (mainly from the US dub) can make them unintentionally hilarious, even to the point where they have been memed. Such lines include, but not limited to:
- "I don't believe my eyes! Your name will be Pinocchio!"
- "Mama mia! A wooden boy!" (screams)
- "Pinocchio! What have you done?! You killed him!"
- "It's just me!"
- "I don't even like you!"
- And of course: "Father, tell me, when can I leave to be on my own? I've got the whole world to see!"
- Pauly Shore's drunk-sounding whiny dialogue is kind of funny to listen to, if you ever consider watching the United States dub of the movie. In fact, his voice sounds a bit more like Tommy Wiseau.
- The original Russian version and the original English dub are tolerable.
- Bella has a good singing voice.
- Decent soundtrack.
- Aside from the bad animation and non-matchable lip-sync, the characters designs look decent.
- Bella has a pretty design alongside Pinocchio, despite the latter having a poorly polished texture.
- The backgrounds look very well-detailed and somewhat pleasant to look at, even with the low budget.
- The movie can be considered "so bad it's good" thanks to its ridiculous plot, laughable voice acting, and dialogue.
- Many of the Pauly Shore-voiced quotes from the movie's trailer became Internet memes, and so has several other quotes throughout the final product from various characters.