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Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

March 5, 2009 by  



70 years later and just an absolutely wonderful release on Blu-ray.  Awesome picture quality and tons of bonus features and extras that simply make this classic masterpiece a must-own for all Disney fans! Disney has hit another grand slam with this Blu-ray release.  Highly recommended!”

Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition

DURATION: 88 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080P High Definition 1:33:1, 1080p and 1080 i High Definition, 480i Standard Definition for bonus features.  Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz/24-Bit) and restored original theatrical soundtrack

COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

RATED: G

RELEASE DATE: March 10, 2009

Cast:

Mel Blank (voice of Cleo, Figaro and Gideon)

Cliff Edwards (voice of Jiminy Cricket)

Dickie Jones (voice of Alexander, Pinocchio)

Christian Rub (voice of Gepetto)

Walter CAtlett (voice of Honest John)

Frankie Darro (voice of Lampwick)

Charles Judels (voice of The Coachman/Stromboili)

Evelyn Venable (voice of the Blue Fairy)

Celebrate the 70th anniversary of Walt Disney’s Pinocchio. The legendary masterpiece that inspired millions to believe in their dreams has reawakened with an all-new, state-of-the-art digital restoration and now, for the first time ever, the richly detailed animation, unforgettable award-winning music
(“When You Wish Upon A Star”) and heartwarming adventure-filled story is fully revealed with all-new dazzling bonus features transport you into Pinocchio’s fantastic world. Join Geppetto’s beloved puppet—with Jiminy Cricket as his guide—on a thrilling quest that tests Pinocchio’s bravery, loyalty and honesty, virtues he must learn to become a real boy. The one and only Pinocchio will live on forever in the heart of anyone who has wished upon a star.

A timeless classic that has been entertaining audiences for 70 years, Walt Disney’s “Pinocchio” gets the High-Definition treatment and with Disney’s classics on Blu-ray known as “reference” disc’s among high-definition fans, “Pinocchio” is the second animated film from Walt Disney to hit theaters (back in 1940) and the oldest Walt Disney animated film to be released on Blu-ray.

“Pinocchio” starts off with a wood carving puppet maker named Gepetto (voiced by Christian Rub) creating a wooden puppet of a boy which he names Pinocchio.  Living with Gepetto is his pet cat Figaro and his goldfish Cleo but for Gepetto, he dreams that his Pinocchio can come to life.

Meanwhile, a cricket named Jimini Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) stays at Gepetto’s place and watches as the Blue Fairy comes during the night and grants Gepetto’s wish and makes Pinocchio come to life.

Of course, Pinocchio (voiced by Richard Jones) is not to knowledgeable of how people live and what is right and what is wrong but the Blue Fairy chooses Jimini Cricket to become his consciousness and to help steer him to make decisions that are good.  And if Pinocchio can prove that he can learn to be good and unselfish, he can become a real boy and Jimini Cricket can get the gold badge that he has desired.

When Gepetto awakes and discovers that his puppet has come alive, Gepetto is overjoyed and surprised that his dream has come true.  Very quick to get Pinocchio ready for his new life, Pinocchio’s first goal is to go to school.

But unfortunately, Pinocchio befriends to con men (or animals) J Worthington Foulfellow (voiced by Walter Catlett) and Gideo the cat (voiced by Mel Blanc)  who pretend to help Pinocchio and pretend to be his friend and lead him to a different path, despite warnings from Jiminy Cricket.

Pinocchio learns the hard way that not everyone he meets are good people but most of all, he learns a hard lesson about making good and bad choices, lying and eventually, having to make the right choices to save himself from harm.

Of course, there is so much to the storyline of “Pinocchio” but this is a film that has to be enjoyed from start to finish.  And what people will love is that as much as there was an impressive story with the animated film, behind-the-scenes  of the making and release of the film has its own interesting story as well, which people will get to learn from this 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition.

This Blu-ray disc comes with two Blu-ray discs plus a DVD disc of the film.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

So, far the Walt Disney Blu-ray disc animated (as well as theatrical) releases are among the best in picture and audio quality.

With the 2008 Blu-ray disc release of “Sleeping Beauty” (1958) which definitely benefited from the High-Definition remastering and many videophiles putting it among their top 10 of “reference” Blu-ray discs for picture quality, “Pinocchio” (1940) is a much older release, this film presented in multiplane Technicolor just looks absolutely fabulous on Blu-ray.

For nearly a year, an expert restoration team digitally scanned 380,334 frames of four and half miles of 71 year-old film negative, cleaning 126,778 frames, realigning each scene, removing dirt, scratches and dust and matching colors to the original cels and backgrounds.  The clarity of “Pinocchio” is just amazing and I was just impressed how clean the animation was.

From the details of the backgrounds to the vibrant colors used, picture quality was just spectacular.

And the audio is no slouch either as the audio is featured in English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 24-bit) or a restored original theatrical soundtrack.  Of course, the film is primarily a dialogue based film but also a classic known for its music.

So, for those who have been enchanted with songs such as “When You Wish Upon A Star” to “I’ve Got No Strings”, fans of Disney composer Leigh Harline, Ned Washington and Paul J. Smith are going to enjoy how beautiful the music sounds on their home theater setup.   The music from “Pinocchio” earned the film two Oscars in 1941 for “Best Music, Original Score” and “Best Music, Original Song” for “When You Wish Upon a Star” which would become Disney’s anthem.

For those wondering if there are any audio tracks in any other languages, unfortunately there is not.  Although the bonus features do include English, French and Spanish 2.0.  The same can be said for subtitles featured in English SDH (for the film) and the bonus features in English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Pinocchio” is just loaded with special features.  Here is what is included:

Blu-ray Disc 1:

    • “When You Wish Upon a Star” – An all-new music video starring Meaghan Jette Martin (Camp Rock) performing an all-new version of “When You Wish Upon A Star!”  Obviously a version to bring any the younger listeners but really, nothing can beat the original version sung by Cliff Edwards.
    • Pinocchio’s Matter of Facts –
    Learn fun facts about Pinocchio and other related subjects as you watch the movie.
    • Optional Video/Audio Commentary –
    An all-new audio commentary with Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg and J.B. Kaufman.   A very informative and also enthusiastic commentary in which the three discuss their feelings of the film, what scenes touched them and also some informative facts about the film.  The optional video commentary allows people to have a picture-in-picture display in which you can watch the three discuss the film and then also some interviews with the original crew involved with the film.
    • Disney Song Selection – This section allows the viewer to listen to the music portions from the film.

Blu-ray Disc 2:

  • No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio – Witness the behind-the scenes magic that transformed Carlo Collodi’s popular book into a classic animated film.  About an hour long and very informative featurette about how the film cost Disney over $2 million to make but the film didn’t do well in the box office until later as the music became a big part of Disney and people started to discover it’s technical, artistic and musical merit and having become a Disney masterpiece.
  • Deleted Scenes – In the Disney vault, storyboards for deleted scenes and an alternate ending were found.  Without spoiling any of these, the following scenes are:
    – The story of the Grandfather Tree – Kindly Geppetto tells Pinocchio about the Great Pine Tree from which Pinocchio is descended.
    – In The Belly Of The Whale –
    The most elaborate of Pinocchio’s deleted scenes that remain in the Disney Archives, these recently discovered storyboards reveal a different version of Geppetto inside Monstro.
    – Alternate Ending –
    A recently uncovered set of small storyboard panels reveal plans for a different version of Pinocchio becoming a real boy.
  • The Sweat Box – The Sweatbox was a small projection room at the Disney studio where Walt critiqued story reels, rough animation, and dailies of films in progress with his anxious artists. This piece traces the history of the Sweatbox and brings to life this important part of Walt Disney’s artistic process.
  • Geppettos Then And Now – A look at the art of toymaking as it has evolved into the 21st Century.  A fun featurette showcasing those who make toys, those who still carve wooden puppets to those who have created the Wall-E robot toy and I-Sobot.
  • Live Action Reference Footage – Older footage of how live action was used in the film, especially with the movements of Jimini Cricket.
  • Pinocchio Art Galleries – The hand-drawn conceptual art of “Pinocchio” is fantastic.  Absolutely beautiful!
  • Pinocchio’s Puzzles – Hosted by Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio’s Puzzles is a multi-tiered Puzzle game that contains six unique wooden puzzles for the viewer to assemble. Each puzzle forms an image from the film that comes to life once they are complete.
  • Blu-ray Exclusive Bonus Features –Includes all DVD Bonus Content (*BD-Live not available in Canada)
    • Disney BD-Live Network –
    The Disney BD-Live Network is just one of the many ways movie lovers, families, and loved ones can continue to stay connected and engage in their favorite movies.
  • Movie Chat – Communicate with your remote friends on-screen while in a synchronized viewing party using your remote control or any text enabled device such as a laptop,
    desk top or any PDA device such as a Blackberry, iPhone or most other regular cell phones. Your chat session will appear over the movie and occur in real-time while watching the movie together.
  • Movie Mail – Blu-ray owners will be able to record a personalized video message of themselves, superimpose that capture onto one of many pre-selected clips of the movie, and send it off to a friend, colleague, or relative. This specific feature enables Pinocchio Blu-ray Disc owner to personalize a very special greeting as never before.
  • Disney Movie Rewards Live – Pinocchio Blu-ray owners will be able to accumulate Disney Movie Reward Points by participating in many Disney BD-Live Network activities. In return, viewers can redeem points for exclusive content such as Avatars, downloadable extras and many more exciting possibilities.
  • Disney View – A new viewing experience for future generations of home audiences, Disney View brings classic Disney films to the modern era of widescreen high definition viewing by allowing the user to expand their viewing experience beyond the original aspect ratio of the film. Utilizing Disney Blu-ray™ technology, artists are able to ‘draw’ beyond the borders of classic full frame cinema and fill the otherwise dark edges of the screen with beautiful original imagery, giving audiences a new view on their animated classic favorites. Legendary artist Toby Bluth is the first artist’s work to be featured on Disney View.  I hope “Disney View” is a continuous feature because instead of watching the black bars on the sides of your widescreen TV, by having these borders and have it match with the scene was well-done!
    • Cine-Explore
    • Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge –
    1 to 4-player trivia game that can be played locally or online with your friends. Try to be the first to shrink Pinocchio’s nose by answering challenging questions while watching the film.
    • Pleasure Island Carnival Games –
    Best the Evil Coachmen at four challenging Carnival games to earn your freedom and escape Pleasure Island.

Also, included is a song that was not used in the final cut for the film and more!

Again, another Disney masterpiece that has its definitive release via High-Definition on Blu-ray.   This release is absolutely wonderful!

I was awestruck by how brilliant the film looked and how clean and pristine this 70-year-old film was on Blu-ray.  Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment really showed us how brilliant their restored films would look on Blu-ray starting with “Sleeping Beauty” but since “Pinocchio” was a much older film, it wasn’t known if it could benefit from the restoration but sure enough, this release is yet another “Grand Slam”.

To have a such an important classic animated film released on Blu-ray to look this spectacular is impressive but to go back into the sealed archives of Disney and to find any video or any type of existing artwork or storyboards was just amazing.  This release is just jam packed with special feature and you learn so much about the behind-the-scenes making of the film from the artistic and musical direction, to casting and even Walt Disney and his involvement as well.

Learning how Walt Disney wanted to immediately change his version of “Pinocchio” from Carlo Collodi’s original 1911 story “avventure de Pinocchio” (which featured an unlikeable, wiseguy Pinocchio and dark stories about abductions and murders) to learning also how strict Walt Disney was in making sure his staff knew what he wanted and did all he can to bring the best out of them.

Now, as a parent, I did watch this film with my child.  For those who are not familiar with the classic Disney films, although Disney films are rated G, Disney films from the past versus a Disney film like “Wall-E” or a modern Disney animated film that is generally fine for children will need to know that back then, Walt Disney’s animated films were created for people of all ages and not just children (which was discussed on the commentary).

So, therefore Walt Disney’s first film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” had dark content.  Disney’s second film “Pinocchio” has its share of scenes that may make some parents uncomfortable.  For example, in one scene, Pinocchio follows a wiseguy who likes to smoke and thus Pinocchio starts smoking a cigar (and of course getting sick by it), scenes with beer drinking and then of course, a scene where the word “jackass” is used a few times.  Some may feel the content is inappropriate for their children, so I will leave that up to your discretion.

But overall, there’s really nothing negative that can be said about this Blu-ray release.  It’s everything that a fan of the film can ever want with a High-Definition release.  Digital restoration of video and audio, informative commentary, special features and much more!

Absolutely wonderful!  Highly recommended!






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