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Disney+'s Pinocchio Reviews Are Here, Read What Critics Are Saying About The Tom Hanks Movie

Pinocchio on Disney+.
(Image credit: Disney+)

The story of Pinocchio is over a hundred years old, spinning the well-known tale of a little wooden boy who wants to become real. The animated Disney movie from 1940 captured generations of fans with its magical adventure and morality lesson (Jiminy Cricket wasn’t so bad himself), and director Robert Zemeckis is hoping to recapture some of that magic in the latest Disney live-action remake. Starring Tom Hanks as the woodcarver Geppetto, Pinocchio is now available for Disney+ subscribers to stream, and Hanks is surrounded by an impressive cast that includes Joseph Gordon-Levitt voicing Jiminy Cricket and Cynthia Erivo as The Blue Fairy. 

Let’s see what the critics are saying about Hanks’ latest collaboration with Robert Zemeckis, starting with CinemaBlend’s review of Pinocchio. Dirk Libbey rates the movie 3 stars out of 5, noting that like Disney’s other live-action remakes, this one doesn’t stray too far from the original story, but there is enough that’s different — including the addition of five original songs — that people should give it a shot. He says: 

In the end, the live-action Pinocchio is neither the best nor the worst of this particular corner of Disney's universe. It's mostly fine. As a piece of technical filmmaking it brings the Disney story of Pinocchio to life impressively, but it could have given the story new life, and there it comes up short.

Fay Watson of Games Radar also gives the movie 3 out of 5 stars, saying that Tom Hanks is wonderful, the animation is great, and the familiar characters inspire nostalgia. However, the pacing of the story is an issue, and these reviews seem to be hinting at a change to the traditional ending. From the critic: 

The film is let down by some serious pacing issues. Every scenario sees Pinocchio finding himself in trouble, resolving the problem, and coming out with a clear moral takeaway. It quickly becomes repetitive – the structure aping A Christmas Carol but not succeeding – and the overall effect is a film that sometimes seems too slow, and at other points too fast - especially the final act, which ends abruptly (and might be controversial among Disney purists).

Lupe R. Haas of Cinemovie says this remake doesn’t offer much in terms of novelty, save for a more diverse cast and better animation (which would be expected more than 80 years after the first Disney movie). However, the critic ponders, with the movie targeting a new generation, maybe it doesn’t matter that the story hasn’t changed. This review says: 

The majority of the story remains the same with minimal changes like Easter Eggs with Disney character cameos, but these Disney live-action remakes are meant for a new generation. Perhaps we should stop calling them ‘remakes’ and refer to them as ‘upgrades.’ As someone who was tempted to compare the new version with the original, the 4:3 frame size and dated 2D animation couldn't hold my attention after 20 minutes.

Tara Bennett of IGN rates the film a “Mediocre” 5 out of 10, calling Disney’s newest effort “wooden.” Tom Hanks gives a good performance, but this critic says even he can’t carry this one on his own: 

Nothing cinematic, original, or even lasting comes from their ongoing exercise which makes it a continuing head-scratcher. With this retelling, there’s far too much fealty to the visuals and plot points of Walt Disney’s 1940 animated classic, yet the script clearly bristles at being beholden to its old-fashioned constraints. The result is an occasionally beautifully rendered film with a schizophrenic script that alternates between old-timey twee and being too-hip-for-itself meta, complete with anachronistic dialogue.

Christian Zilko of IndieWire grades Pinocchio a C, saying that while this movie is mostly harmless entertainment, there’s no reason to have remade it, and trying to update it for a new generation kind of goes against the message it’s trying to relay. The critic says: 

Of the many sins that Robert Zemeckis’ Pinocchio commits, the hardest one to forgive is its complete inability to settle on a reason for existing. Its strongest moments come when recreating the film that inspired it, but its attempts to expand that source material lead it into some truly dire terrain. If you enjoyed the original Pinocchio but thought the cats weren’t mangy enough, the Chris Pine references were lacking, and Jiminy Cricket didn’t make enough jokes about Geppetto’s inability to get laid, you’ll be thrilled to see those wrongs righted in Zemeckis’ new film. Everyone else would be better off simply rewatching the original.

As with Disney’s other live-action remakes, this one seems to inspire mixed reviews, except maybe where Tom Hanks and the updated animation are concerned. If this sounds like a movie you want to revisit, Pinocchio is available for streaming now on Disney+. You can also see what else Tom Hanks has in the works, and start planning your next trip to the theater with our 2022 Movie Release Schedule

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.