6.18.2009

Pinocchio / Platinum Edition DVD : 5 of 5

I finally got around to watching the first Disney Platinum Edition release of the year, and it’s always a joy to experience a true classic like Pinocchio again! Even though it seems silly to keep buying these movies when they are re-released on DVD, I’m always satisfied with the awesome new bonus materials that Disney includes. This time there’s a full hour-long documentary, featuring all my current animation heroes that I love to listen to, and I really learned a lot about this 1940 masterpiece that some call the “ultimate animated film”. It never occurred to me before that Pinocchio was a bridge between the shorts animators and what would soon become the Nine Old Men, so this film is just bursting with talent (and since the studio was flush with cash after the success of Snow White, they spared no expense!). Eric Larson’s animation of Figaro the cat makes him one of my favorite characters (I especially love the white dry-brush technique on his fur!), and I’m always amazed at the incredible camera angles used, such as the shot from above as Honest John, Gideon, and Pinocchio sing their way through town (just think about what it takes to accomplish that and your mind will boggle!). Of course, there are other fascinating techniques like the breakthroughs in water effects, but I also enjoyed finding new details like the Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland books (movies Disney would make in the future) in the background as Jiminy Cricket opens the film. Along with the great documentary, there’s a cool re-enactment of a “sweatbox” session (where animation is viewed and scrutinized) with an actor playing Walt in the shadows (with a pretty realistic voice), as well as lots of discussion about how live-action reference footage was used by the animators. Of course, there are huge image galleries available, but this time they also included some 360-degree rotations of original maquettes. Every scene of Pinocchio is filled with rich detail, so much that it’s estimated it would cost $100 million to create this masterpiece today. As always, I had a fantastic time watching it again, and I’m sure I’ll be watching it a few more hundred times in my lifetime!

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