September 14

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Artsy Fartsy

I finally saw the latest incarnation of Pinocchio on Disney Plus. (Spoilers ahead...stop here if you want to experience it first, then come back.)

Tom Hanks was brilliant, as he always is.

But I really struggled with the ending. 

Disney always tries to change things with the live-action remakes. They don't want it to be a carbon copy of the cartoon, with real people and special effects. I get that.

But, I think they went overboard this time.

Everyone knows the story of Pinocchio. If he learns to be brave, truthful, and unselfish, then the Blue Fairy will turn him into a real boy.

Pinocchio endures a number of soul-crushing adventures with Jiminy Cricket, his companion and conscience. And in the end, he becomes a real boy.

Except...in this version of the story, he...well...doesn't. Or maybe he does.

This is where I think Disney was a little too artsy fartsy.

In the end, Geppetto (Tom Hanks), decides that Pinocchio is "everything that a real boy is." Pinocchio is his real boy.

And they walk off into the sunset.

Even though it remains unclear they even know the way home after being puked from a sea monster's stomach.

No magical transformation. Not even a post-credits teaser.

Jiminy narrates the ending, saying, "We're not sure what happened to Pinocchio. Some say he became a real boy, some say he didn't," and we're left to wonder.

I see where they were going with it. But to me, "you already are a real boy," is like saying, "you were a winner all along" to the losing team.

Yes, they went a different direction with it. But at the same time, we were robbed of that magical transition from wooden toy to human child. From possessed toy to accepted being. From splinters to blood.

That was the moment we were all waiting for. What Pinocchio was looking for the entire movie. And we didn't get to experience that resolution.

But then, maybe that's the point.

Because if it weren't unusual...disappointing as it was...you wouldn't be reading a blog post about it right now.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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