We’re huge Disney fans in my house, but I have to admit that the original classics don’t get that much screen time anymore. When my kids were younger, they watched Bambi and Dumbo quite a lot, but Walt’s originals rarely make the request list these days. It was therefore a bit of a surprise when, unprompted, they asked to watch Pinocchio the other day.
Of course I obliged.
Pinocchio was Walt Disney’s second full-length animated feature film. It came out in 1940, just a few years after the amazing success he had with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. It’s not a movie that featured prominently in my own childhood, but I do enjoy it—much more so than some of the other classics. I think a lot of that is due to Jiminy Cricket: one of my favorite animated characters in the Disney canon.
So we broke out the popcorn and ice cream, snuggled up, and popped in the brand-new Blu-ray release of the film. The film is just as charming, gorgeous, and fun as ever. And it’s still just as politically incorrect, with nearly everyone on screen smoking at one point, kidnapped children sold into slavery, and ethnic stereotypes played for jokes.
Also, in keeping with the comparisons I did for Snow White and Beauty and the Beast, some of you might be interested to know how this new Signature Collection release compares to the previous 70th anniversary Platinum Edition Blu-ray release from 2010.
First and foremost, I should say that, as is the case with most recent re-releases from Disney, the video is identical between the two versions. They look exactly the same (beautiful), and there’s really not a noticeable difference between the two. With respect to audio, the 2010 edition had a 5.1 audio mix, and the new release comes with a 7.1 DTS-HD master audio and the original remastered soundtrack.
The on-screen menu is also different. And, contrary to how I felt about Snow White and Beauty and the Beast, I like the new menu screen better, as it’s simple and includes a lot of concept art and character sketches.
The 2010 edition spreads out the movie and special features over two discs (somewhat unnecessarily), but this new edition packs everything onto a single disc. For those of you who still buy physical media, you might be interested to know about the special features available. Well, here goes…
What’s the same? The new version includes most of the bonus features from the previous edition.
- Both versions of the film are practically identical in terms of specs. They look and sound the same (with the exception of 5.1 versus 7.1 audio).
- Both contain the same audio commentary with Leonard Maltin, Eric Goldberg, and J.B. Kaufman (along with vintage audio clips from animators and others who worked on the film).
- “No Strings Attached: The Making of Pinocchio“: 55-minute in-depth making-of documentary.
- “The Sweatbox”: 6-minute short about the artistic process under Walt.
- “Gepettos Then and Now”: 11-minute short about puppetry through the years.
- Live-Action Reference Footage: 10-minute short.
- Three deleted scenes, including an alternate ending.
- Theatrical trailers (1940, 1984, 1992).
- Disney View (fills in black sections of screen with Toby Bluth paintings).
What’s new? Aside from the menu, there are a few differences and special features that are new to the 2017 edition.
- Digital redemption code to add Pinocchio to your Disney Movies Anywhere collection.
- “The Pinocchio Project: When You Wish Upon a Star”: 5-minute music video and look into the making of a new rendition of the song by Alex G, Tanner Patrick, and JR Aquino. Honestly, skip this one.
- “Walt’s Story Meetings: Pleasure Island”: 7-minute look into the development of the Pleasure Island sequence; includes interviews with Pete Docter and concept sketches from when Walt called it Boobyland.
- “In Walt’s Worlds: Pinocchio“: 4-minute archival interview excerpts from Walt Disney talking about the film in 1956.
- “Poor Papa”: Classic Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short.
- Three features that are included with the “Classic Bonus Content” but I couldn’t find on the 2010 edition:
- “A Wish Come True: The Making of Pinocchio“: 5-minute brief making-of doc.
- “When You Wish Upon a Star” music video by Meaghan Jette Martin.
- Storyboard-to-film final comparison.
What’s missing (from the 2010 edition)? Unless they’re hiding somewhere I didn’t see them, these features didn’t seem to make the cut.
- Art galleries.
- “Honest John” deleted song.
- Games: Pinocchio’s Matter of Facts, Pinocchio Knows Trivia Challenge, Pinocchio’s Puzzles, Pleasure Island Carnival Games.
- Cine-Explore viewing option.
Do I recommend the new Signature Collection edition of Pinocchio? If you don’t already own a copy of the film, then it’s a no-brainer. You’ll be blown away all over again, and it’s a remarkable film that any fan of animation should own.
What if you already own the 2010 edition? If you’re desperate for the 7.1 DTS audio mix, then you should grab this one. But in all honesty, if that doesn’t mean anything to you, then you can give this one a pass. The new bonus features are really weak and not at all worth picking up on their own merit. I’m actually quite disappointed in them. It seems that not much thought was put into making this a special release with features worth watching.
The film, though? That’s magical.
(Disclosure: GeekDad was provided with a review copy of this release. All opinions remain our own.)