Awfully Good Movies: Pinocchio (2002) [Video]

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Pinocchio (2002)

DIRECTOR: Roberto Benigni         

CAST: Roberto Benigni, Nicoletta Braschi, Carlo Giuffrè

ENGLISH VOICE CAST: Breckin Meyer, Glenn Close, David Suchet

With Tim Burton’s new remake of DUMBO ready to kick off a big year of Disney animated remakes, Awfully Good Movies is taking a look at another visionary director’s unique take on a Disney-associated fairy tale with Roberto Benigni directing and starring in his infamous 2002 adaptation of PINOCCHIO! After taking home two Oscars for his comedic Holocaust drama LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL–and making one hell of a show with his acceptance speeches–Italian comedian Roberto Benigni finally had the commercial clout to make his dream project: a new take on Carlo Collodi’s beloved fairy tale where he would star as the wooden puppet boy who’s been magically brought to life and yearns to make the transition into a real live human boy.

However, at 49 years old, Roberto Benigni was way too goddamn old to play the role of a child, be he human or wooden, and it certainly doesn’t help when his portrayal of the character is about as enjoyable as a swarm of bees attacking your genitals. And while this adaptation of the Pinocchio story is far closer to the original source material than the Disney version was, I don’t think American children will be crying out to see Pinocchio dangling from his neck by a noose or crying over a grave as he begs for death.

Still, that didn’t stop Miramax from trying to make this weird-as-hell take on PINOCCHIO appeal to a young audience, thanks to a corny English dub straight out of a Godzilla movie which is absolutely packed with famous celebrities, ranging from Glenn Close to Cheech Marin to Regis Philbin to former Monty Pythons Eric Idle and John Cleese, with Benigni dubbed in English by ROAD TRIP star Breckin Meyer long before his Lindsay Lohan impression on ROBOT CHICKEN made him famous as a voice actor. But at nearly two hours, the surreal madness of Benigni’s PINOCCHIO will quickly get lost in translation for any viewers that look for coherence and entertainment in their cinematic fairy tales. And the worst part of all? Not a single appearance from Figaro the Cat.

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