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Pinocchio - English Subtitled Version back to product details

Charming film ruined, then repaired by Miramax
written by EPetersen July 17, 2003 - 4:44 PM PDT
1 out of 1 members found this review helpful
Director-star Roberto Benigni's big-budget adaptation of Italy's most beloved children's story was a huge it in its native country. Disney's Miramax Films brought Pinocchio to the States and invoked the wrath of both critics and filmgoers by chopping it up and adding what may be the most godawful, incoherent English dubbing track in the history of film. Thus, it tanked in the theaters.

Now, Miramax releases this 2-disc DVD set which features two versions of the movie: the theatrical English-dubbed butcher job, and the full length Italian-language version with English subtitles - as well as the horrible English dub track!

(By the way, the running time is listed incorrectly on this website; the theatrical cut is 99 minutes long and the uncut original version is 109 minutes. Why Miramax made the cuts is a mystery; uncut, it's still very much a G-rated film.)

The good news is that both versions feature a beautiful 2:35:1 anamorphic widescreen video transfer, which does justice to Benigni's garish, surreal vision. Now, let's talk about the movie!

Benigni himself plays Pinocchio. I'm a fan of his, and I enjoyed his bizarre, hyperkinetic portrayal of the wooden puppet who becomes a real boy. It's hoot to see him in pink pajamas and pointed white hat, acting like a petulant toddler. The self-centered puppet runs away from his father Geppetto and takes off on an adventure, where he learns what it means to be human with a little help from the Blue Fairy (beautifully played by Benigni's wife Nicoletta Braschi).

This movie is absolutely delightful and wonderfully weird, almost like Monty Python with an Italian accent. It's also very touching and Benigni is unforgettable in the title role.

Pinocchio boasts first-rate special effects and gorgeous cinematography. It really is a fairy tale come to life. But I must warn you: do NOT watch the dubbed version! Cut or uncut, the dub track mangles the script and features ghastly voice acting. The guy who dubs Benigni's voice could break glass!

Adults will love this movie as much as kids, but if you do rent it for your children, encourage them to watch the Italian language version and read the subtitles, because they will HATE the English dubbing!

I heard rumors that there was a heated feud going on between Benigni and Miramax and that Miramax didn't want to bring Pinocchio to the States but was contractually bound to do so. If that's true, the bad editing and horrible dubbing must have been Miramax's revenge against Benigni.

The real victims were the kids deprived of seeing this wonderful film in its original version. The critics were justified in condemning the theatrical cut, but Miramax should be condemned, not Roberto Benigni.


(Average 4.00)
12 Votes
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