The idea of remaking Disney’s animated classics of yesterday and today does not come from the modern era: thirty years ago, in 1994, Stephen Sommers gave his particular vision of The Jungle Book, followed by 101 Dalmatians. The experiment worked but was not taken up again on a large scale until 2015, when Kenneth Branagh adapted Cinderella in his own way. Since then, there hasn’t been a year without a live-action adaptation, and this year it’s the turn of Pinocchio, a decision as risky as it is creative.
Disney seems to be torn between giving total freedom to the director for these remakes (like Tim Burton with Dumbo) or following the original film step by step (‘The Lion King’, of which, by the way, a sequel is expected). In the case of Pinocchio it seems that Robert Zemeckis has chosen a middle ground: the designs are the same but the visual style is much more creative than what was asked of him.
In the first trailer, which announces its release for Disney+ Day, September 8, we see all the recognizable elements: Gepetto’s workshop, Pinocchio’s nose, Jiminy Cricket, the whale…. But with a frankly surprising production design for the little desire they have put into the redesigns of the characters.
Not that the mouse company cares about the criticism of its way of getting milk from the cow even when there seems to be none left: they are already preparing more than ten remakes, including Bambi, Robin Hood, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and even Lilo and Stitch. Will the goose that lays the golden eggs stop being profitable one day? It seems that as long as Disney+ exists, it’s not even feasible.