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This legendary animated feature is surely beyond criticism by now and, furthermore, it's unlikely that we'll see such forceful narrative in a kids' cartoon ever again. Disney's treatment of Collodi's story of the little wooden puppet who wants nothing more than to be a real boy is always guaranteed to have audiences entranced. While some of the movie's success is derived from its liberal use of the kind of imagery no children's film-maker would even attempt to get past the storyboard stage today--a mysterious island where children smoke cigars, get drunk and turn into donkeys, a monstrous, malicious sea-creature which is devoid of any trace of cuddliness and a pair of villains who routinely abduct children, to give just a few examples--the characters are depicted with the finest attention to detail, most of the songs have become classics in their own right ("When You Wish Upon a Star" being only one of many) and the graceful, stylised animation positively glows with fine detail. Essential family viewing. --Roger Thomas
Walt Disney's second full-length animated feature is a timeless, breathtakingly beautiful classic. Based on an 1800s story by Carlo Collodi, it stars Jiminy Cricket (voiced by Cliff Edwards) as a vagabond insect who spends a rainy night at the shop of toymaker Geppetto. The Blue Fairy brings a marionette to life after Geppetto wishes on a star for a son, and Jiminy Cricket is appointed the new boy's conscience. He has a devil of a time keeping up as Pinocchio is willingly lured through various forms of temptation, the most frightening of which leads him to Pleasure Island, where he drinks, smokes, and is almost turned into a jackass. This sequence, as well as Pinocchio's brave rescue of Geppetto from the belly of a whale, ranks among the most memorable in the history of animation. With such songs as When You Wish Upon a Star, this is about as magical as cinema can get, a sublimely beautiful coming-of-age story for all to treasure.