I first must start off with one of the craziest casting ideas in cinema history, Roberto Benigni as Pinocchio . Who's bright idea was that? I mean I know he was the director of the film ,but I had no idea he actually was allowed to portray a role that would better suit a child. This might be a nitpick issue, but this casting choice really is distracting. When you put someone close to their 50's in a role that is for obviously a child, no one whether it be the audience or the critics can suspend their disbelief that far. And the way he portrays this character really is annoying to listen to. Not only is Benigni overacting the entire time, but he really is annoying when trying to act like a child he obviously has no idea how real children act. Maybe Pinocchio in the book act this way, but you don't have to annoying the living crap out of us in the process.
Now this movie is based off of a story that is magical and quite creative. However, the entire I was watching this movie I knew I was looking at a set more than half the time. Also, anytime Pinocchio's nose grows or when he starts to turn into a donkey the effects are not believable at all. Really, this movie looks so low budget and it's also really distracting. Well, maybe not as distracting as a middle aged man in PJS acting like a child on Drugs.
The huge issue I have with this movie is that it tries so hard to both be very dark and very lighthearted at the same time. Don't get me wrong, this can work but not in an adaptation like Pinocchio. Take the Disney version for example, it just went into a lighthearted kids film and that worked very well. But you can't stay true to the dark version of the book and make it very bright and colorful. You would have to go one way or the other. Basically, Benigni wanted to make a film that would appeal to everyone which in turn turned out to be a movie no one can enjoy.
I know what Benigni was trying to do, but really this movie is a very complicated mess. The acting and writing in it is a joke. If you want a better adaptation, just see the Disney version of Pinocchio.
First of all, analysing the original story is a key factor since its a given that the Walt Disney production of Pinocchio would have deviated from the story to make it more kid-friendly film, although I identified this without having the plot given away.
Also, if you view the original art based on the story Adventures of Pinocchio, you'll notice the fact that Pinocchio himself looks little like in the Disney version and Roberto Benigni actually is made to look much like Pinocchio himself based on the first ever artwork ever to have illustrated him by Enrico Mazzanti.
Lastly, the simple fact that people forget is that Pinocchio is a tale of a mischievous wooden creation that stemmed from Italy itself in 1883, and so successful film creator Roberto Benigni who is known for his comedic antics would be the ideal director of it and would make an interesting lead.
Essentially, I loved Life is Beautiful (La Vita E Bella) so much that I wanted so badly to like Pinnochio, and I took many precautions to ensure I would enjoy Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio as best as I could, including watching it in Italian not to suffer at the hands of terrible dubbing, and to embrace it as Roberto Benigni intended.
Alas, it seems people were attempting to make me dislike this film. The only options were to view the film in French or English, and since the French dubbing sounded good I watched it in that. The dubbing really featured a great voice actor, although I'm sure it wouldn't be as good as Roberto Benigni himself. I turned it over to English for 5 seconds but turned it back after hearing the dubbing. No wonder people hated the American version of this movie. It takes less than 5 seconds to determine that the dubbing has been disastrous, because whoever dubbed over Roberto Benigni's voice has clearly not hit puberty yet. It deviates way too far from the character being portrayed, and if I had to watch the whole film with this dubbing I would strangle someone. The person to strangle isn't the person whoever the hell Breckin Meyer is, but whoever decided that his pre-pubescent voice was appropriately befitting to a character portrayed by Academy Award winner Roberto Benigni should be blacklisted. The dubbing in Pinocchio is so abysmal that its as if Lawrence of Arabia was dubbed so that every time T.E. Lawrence Spoke, he had Jar Jar Binx's voice. That is an immaculate way to describe how horrific the dubbing efforts were on Pinocchio. It's not worth finding out how despicable things could have been, but it goes to show how one thing to be altered for the sake of international viewers can ruin everything for everyone else.
Although the context the story is set in is rather complicated because Pinocchio is played by a 50 year old Italian man who looks nothing like he's made of wood, Roberto Benigni is absolutely perfect for the role. Watching Pinocchio I completely forgot that Pinocchio was played by an adult, because Roberto Begnini's comedic energy and giddiness that won him an Academy Award for giving the single greatest performance in the history of cinema in his masterpiece La Vita E Bella is on board again in Pinocchio and he plays it as if he's embodying Giorgio Cantarini, the boy who portrayed Guido Orifice's son Joshua in La Vita E Bella. He's the finest man in Italy to portray Pinocchio, but he directs it too. His directional skill makes Pinocchio a magical Italian extravaganza, a majestic fairytale full of colour and life which gives it the spark it needs to function. Pinocchio is one of the costliest films in Italian cinema, but Roberto Benigni puts all the money into the film's style to ensure it pays the tribute to Pinoccio that it really deserves, and regardless of how odd it seems. The production design and costumes are Academy Award worthy, and the visual effects are excellent. Truly, Pinocchio is a strongly directed and stylish wonder which overshadows the fact that its a 50 year old man playing a young puppet made of wood. If you watch Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio without the despicable English dubbing, you're a lot more likely to embrace it and embrace the undeniable love for Roberto Benigni which won him the Academy Award for best actor.
Frankly, American Film studios are the people to blame for Pinocchio's lack of success, and critical and commercial failure. Pinocchio may one day be viewed as a misunderstood masterpiece like Heaven's Gate is now, and I hope that day comes soon. I wouldn't call it a masterpiece at this point in time, but I'd call it a damn entertaining family film with magical energy and true heart put into it from Roberto Benigni, even through he's working on creating a live action version of a story about a puppet that came to life, nearly became a donkey and was eaten in the ocean. I learned a valuable lesson about being a good boy from Pinocchio, moreso than I could from any animated version, and you know if you walk out of a film with a good feeling, it was worth watching. That's what I got from Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio, and its utterly his finest work since La Vita E Bella. One of the reasons is because the darker side of the story is incorporated in well without being overly creepy
Nicoletta Braschi was also as beautiful and sweet as ever, Carlo Giuffre was a great Gepetto and Peppe Barra was a good taking cricket.
For a film maintaining a rating of 0%, I am fearless in saying I loved Roberto Benigni's Pinocchio and have learned plenty from it, with the main thing being that Roberto Benigni has still got it in him to entertain immensely, even when treading the tricky wire of such a complicated story.