‘Pinocchio’ assessment: Tom Hanks performs Geppetto in a dull Disney+ remake

In idea with such endeavors, the live-action format ought to deliver one thing to the fabric that animation did not, a feat Disney achieved with appreciable business success with “Cinderella,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Lion King,” and “Aladdin.”
Extra just lately, “Lady and the Tramp” grew to become one of many early calling playing cards for Disney+, reflecting each a extra modest scale and the belief the animation-to-live-action gimmick would possibly inevitably start yielding diminishing returns on the field workplace.

“Pinocchio,” nevertheless, would not ever actually really feel like a live-action film, partly due to the look and computer-animated rendering of its title character; as an alternative, it is virtually like a reverse “Paddington” movie, with just a few live-action figures — most notably Hanks’ Geppetto — dropped into an in any other case animated setting, with even Figaro the cat sporting a distracting CGI look.

Hanks (who between this and “Elvis” has had higher years, creatively talking) and Zemeckis have loved a protracted and fruitful collaboration, from “Forrest Gump” to “Cast Away” to “The Polar Express,” the obvious comparability to their newest effort. However “Pinocchio” sadly mirrors the lifelessness of Zemeckis’ early experiments with animation and would not a lot increase the well-known story with the snippets of music added, aside from Cynthia Erivo, because the Blue Fairy, belting out “When You Wish Upon a Star.”

Zemeckis and co-writer Chris Weitz have cobbled collectively minor adjustments to the unique story, however the framework stays the identical, with the lonely Geppetto wishing his puppet creation (voiced by Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) to life, sending him off to high school and triggering a string of unbelievable adventures. They construct towards his encounter with the seafaring Monstro, upgraded to “sea monster” standing, having maligned whales fairly sufficient.

Principally, “Pinocchio” itself washes ashore right into a sort of no-man’s land — too uninspired to deliver something recent to the fabric, dutifully taking part in like a pallid redo of the 1940 traditional, arguably one in every of Disney’s most stunning animated movies from that pivotal stretch in its early historical past. It additionally largely squanders the vocal abilities of the likes of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Keegan-Michael Key as Jiminy Cricket and “Honest” John, respectively.

This “Pinocchio” additionally occurs to reach earlier than Netflix unveils director Guillermo del Toro’s stab on the beloved property, leaving loads of room for one more interpretation of a narrative that is clearly in no hazard of going out of favor.

Whereas it is maybe unreasonable to anticipate an entire lot extra from this kind of extremely calculated leveraging of the studio’s library than a easy diversion for fogeys to share with youngsters, it is not unreasonable to want the live-action “Pinocchio” may need possessed a bit extra dimension than this.

“Pinocchio” premieres September 8 on Disney+.