The teaser for Disney’s live-action remake of Pinocchio brought us another patented Tom Hanks Silly Voice, and the full trailer, which dropped yesterday, gives us a clear look at CG Pinocchio and by the old gods and the new, I vow to find this abomination upon our world and kill it, kill it with fire until it be dead. Those empty, hollow blue orbs, so flat and shiny, they are windows into an infinite darkness from which the deepest, darkest screams of Chthulu echo. Pinocchio is not a “movie”, this is not a “character” to watch on “screen”, Pinocchio is a trap for the unwary. Peer into its darkness, and its darkness will peer back into you.
WHY does CG animation do this EVERY TIME? In a fully-CG animated world, the effect is much less egregious, but combining CG characters—especially humanoid ones, like Pinocchio—with real actors just highlights the shortcomings of the medium. CG animation is unquestionably better than it was even five years ago, but those EYES. Just…just do a new CG version of Pinocchio. I KNOW this is about capitalizing on nostalgia and Brand Maintenance (remaking the classic animated films locks up those characters in more decades of copyright protection), but this is not lively, fun animation. Pinocchio is a horror.
It reminds me of Paddington Bear in the Paddington movies. I love those movies, but Paddington’s eyes are hollow marbles. Animators are aware the eyes aren’t there yet, they work hard to compensate with expressive, mobile faces, but there Pinocchio loses, too. His design is relatively simple, and his “wooden” face means he can’t make many expressions beyond widening his eyes, which just circles back to the entire problem—his eyes are soul-sucking whirlpools of nothingness. The movie itself looks whatever. These live-action remakes have almost uniformly been bland, overlong cash grabs that are as immensely forgettable as their budgets are immense (exceptions: Pete’s Dragon and Cinderella). Nothing about Pinocchio looks like it will be any different, except for the part where he CLEARLY wants to eat your soul if you look directly into his dead little eyes.