The Biggest Differences Between Disney’s Live-Action ‘Pinocchio’ and the 1940 Original

*Spoiler Warning: This story contains spoilers from Disney’s live-action remake, “Pinocchio.”

Disney’s newest movie, released on Sept. 9, is a live-action adaptation of their 1940 classic “Pinocchio,” which has been deemed the second greatest animated film ever created by the American Film Institute. While the newest “Pinocchio” generally remains dedicated to the look and feel of the 1940 original, director of “Forrest Gump,” Robert Zemeckis, has made some major changes in his remake.

“Pinocchio” is the most recent live-action Disney adaptation, continuing in the strides of  “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” and “Aladdin.” Like those remakes, Zemeckis’ “Pinocchio” mixes more photorealistic CGI characters with real-life characters like Geppetto (Tom Hanks) to refresh the original story for new crowds.

The live-action remake of “Pinocchio,” however, is still the narrative of a wooden puppet who wishes to be a real boy. With the same characters like Jiminy Cricket, the Blue Fairy, Honest John and even Geppetto’s cat, Figaro, and fish, Cleo all present in the “Pinocchio” remake, what possible changes could Zemeckis have made to the movie? Well, let’s see what they are! 

Courtesy of Disney+.

1. Geppetto’s Devastating Plotline

While Disney’s 1940 “Pinnochio” doesn’t elaborate on Geppetto’s reason for wishing on the shooting star for a real boy, the remake does. When viewers are first acquainted with Tom Hanks as Geppetto, he’s singing a tune called “When He Was Here With Me” as he chips away at the wooden puppet that will soon become Pinocchio. While he works on Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth), Geppetto takes a gander at an outlined photograph of a young boy, who it’s evident from the song, is no longer with Geppetto. The destiny of Geppetto’s missing child is never developed, however when Pinocchio doesn’t return, Geppetto’s quickness to leave the shop for the first time in a while suggests a previous horrendous occurrence where he might have lost his spouse and son.

2. Hidden Disney Easter Eggs in the Cuckoo Clocks 

Disney is most famous for the hidden Easter eggs it incorporates in its movies. In the newest “Pinocchio,” Geppetto’s workshop is full of Disney easter eggs. When all the cuckoo clocks in his workshop go off at once, wooden imitations of Woody from “Toy Story,” Roger Rabbit from “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and Aurora from “Sleeping Beauty” can be seen rising up out of the clocks.

Courtesy of Disney+.

3. The Singer for “When You Wish Upon a Star” is the Blue Fairy

Composed for the first “Pinocchio” movie, the Ned Washington and Leigh Harline song, “When You Wish Upon a Star” has since turned into Walt Disney’s unmistakable theme song. In the first “Pinocchio,” Jiminy Cricket (Cliff Edwards) sings the melody at the launch of the film. Robert Zemeckis and co-writer Chris Weitz keep the melody in the live-action remake with a twist. While the newest Jiminy Cricket (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) also opens the film by singing the tune, he only sings two or three bars of the song. It’s not until the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) shows up in Geppetto’s studio that the famous melody gets a full performance, this time by the Blue Fairy instead of Jiminy Cricket.

4. Stromboli is Even More Frightening 

We all know that for every Disney film made, there is always a villain. This just so happens to be Stromboli (Giuseppe Battiston) in both the original and newest “Pinocchio” as he traps Pinocchio inside a bird cage and declines to let him return home. In the remake, Stromboli is much more frightening. He has a tremendous machine that operates the puppets and has broken and void-looking dolls dangling from the roof of his office. Not someone you’d want to cross, that’s for sure. 

5. Geppetto Drowns Instead of Pinocchio

Yes, indeed a tragic ending…just kidding! We all know that no one dies in the original film, so of course, no one would die in the remake. However, the roles are reversed. In the original, Pinocchio is the one who drowns trying to save Gepetto and later gets revived by the Blue Fairy and turns into a real boy. However, in the remake, Gepetto is seen sacrificing his life to save Pinocchio. Later in the movie, Pinocchio hugs his father and a single teardrop falls upon his face and revives Gepetto. It was a happily ever after indeed! 

“Pinocchio” is now available to stream on Disney +. 

By Brianna DiMaio

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