Pinocchio

I’d rather not put my foot in my mouth (again) by recounting my disappointment with Pinocchio as a child. I only watched it once and I only remember the bit with the whale (and the nose growing, of course). So I’m going into it with an open mind and am looking forward to the bonus features. I’m learning a lot about Walt from the bonus features, so I’ll keep getting myself into trouble with them.
            I had seriously considered leaving my childhood disinterest in poor Pinocchio out of this entirely. But—Hakuna Matata or no—the past has an effect on who we are and how we view things. Since Snow Whiteschooled me, I was actually excited for Pinocchio to arrive. Thankfully it arrived the day after The Lion King’s Blu-ray release, as I spent a good four hours watching the bonus features and film-with-commentary that epic day. Back to Pinocchio, though. I was all geared up and ready to watch. I put it in the player and watched the previews excitedly (yes, I love previews so much I even watch them at home. There’s something exciting about seeing scenes of a film I haven’t seen and something nostalgic about watching scenes from a film I have seen).
            I decided to start with the bonus features in an effort to put me in a good, open-minded mood. But….there really weren’t any. There was a commentary (I’ll be honest—the only commentary I’ve ever watched is on Lion King, and that was only because I had seen it in theatres two days before and didn’t feel like I was missing out on seeing the film itself by having the directors and producer talk over my favorite characters), a modern music video by some teenager I’ve never heard of (and this despite my active Disney Channel viewing!), and sing-alongs to all the songs. So I ended up starting off a bit disappointed, despite my efforts.
            I’m sad to say, but Pinocchio was basically as I remembered it. I had to fight to keep paying attention; thank goodness for Jiminy Cricket. He provided endless entertainment—at least for the grown-ups watching. The story just didn’t draw me in. I was disappointed in Pinocchio for not missing his father, or thinking about missing his father, until he was caged. He wasn’t concerned about worrying him at all. Since Gepetto had waited so long to have a little boy…it was just a little too heartbreaking. Of course, I’m also too sensitive.
            I was also disappointed that no one saved the bad donkeys of Pleasure Island. It’s as if they were just forgotten! And sent to salt mines, no less! Oh Walt, what were you doing with that? On the one hand, it may have frightened little boys into behaving for a few hours. On the other hand, it doesn’t say a lot about putting the greater good (helping the donkeys) ahead of yourself (returning home and then subsequently rescuing your maker—I mean, father). I  thought at least Pinocchio would tell Gepetto about the bad donkeys so they could notify the authorities. But…nothing happened. Perhaps it has something to do with the war in Europe, as this film was released in 1940. Maybe Pinocchio is an allusion for the U.S. and the lost boys for Europe. He got a bit tangled up, but found his way out before he turned into a total jackass.
            Now before you get discombobulated for a Disney girl saying jackass in a blog, go watch Pinocchioyourself. It’s said at least three times. Apparently saying jackass when referring to a donkey—quite literally—wasn’t a ‘bad’ word in 1940. Also, my little Pleasure Island allusion theory is just that—a theory. I can’t even say I put a lot of thought into it; I’m just trying to find a way to excuse Walt for dooming all those poor little misbehavers to a life of misery in an animal’s body.
            I can’t say I know a lot about technology or that I am particularly gifted at it. I know a rough outline of how animation works and mostly that Walt is the pioneer of the animation world. But even my untrained eye can see the amazing strides taken in the three years from the release of Snow White to that of Pinocchio. From Pinocchio’s dancing wooden form to the evening star, advancement in animation and the way it was created is clear.
            I do wish there had been more special features on the Blu-ray of Pinocchio. I would like to know what was going on at the Disney studio during this time that influenced the film, and how things changed.
            On a positive note, I’d like to mention that I loved the relationship between the cat and the goldfish. I liked that while any other story would peg them as enemies- predator and prey—this one didn’t. The cat may not have loved the goldfish (well, not until the end), but he never once tried to eat him. Including when they were all in the belly of the whale and starving to death. Also…how did the cat and the goldfish survive being swallowed by a whale, living inside a whale, and the escape of the whale? It’s not difficult for me to suspend disbelief, but when Gepetto and Pinocchio are rafting out of the whale, the goldfish and cat aren’t seen. In fact, they aren’t in the film until everyone washes up on shore. So where were they?
            Alaska has opened my eyes to odd relationships. Moose and Alaskans, for one. The people hunt moose and use it as meat, yet brake for moose so they can safely cross the street (and not total the car). When moose are seen eating on the side of the road, it’s an “awe” moment, not a “where’s my shotgun” moment. There’s a delicate balance of respect and need—they respect the creature when they aren’t hunting it. Of course, this is a blanket statement and I’m sure there are people who see a cute moose on the side of the road and do wish they had their hunting weapon with them. This is merely my observation of the circle of life (hmm how many times can I mention The Lion King in the Pinocchio section?), Alaska style.
            Our life in Alaska has always been interesting. The house hunt is also interesting. We’re having to choose between a neighborhood like what we grew up in versus living in the country (so to speak), where we could even have a horse on our .46 acre lot. There are lots of decisions to be made, and I am not a fan of decisions. There’s also the fact that houses are more expensive here, because of the cost to ship materials up here. I may be wishing on my own evening star that we find the house that’s right for us.

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