The world itself is the film's true villain, not the antagonists.As Jiminy Cricket said, the world is full of temptation. That's just the tip of iceberg. Everyone starts off good and decent when they come into the world. The world itself is actively trying to corrupt everyone in it, big or small, preying upon their desires and needs, to give into its foul devices and machinations, so they too can become just as depraved and assume fallen monstrous forms, forms fit for a world of temptation.
- Honest John and Gideon were once human, they aspired to become rich and have successful careers. Only problem was they failed utterly at arithmetic and grammar, both of them flunking school. They gave into the world tempting them to take the quick road to the good life, by becoming criminals and con-men. There was almost no depth to which they wouldn't stoop, and they slowly transformed into more crafty foxy and cunning cat-like forms.
- The Coachman had worked long and hard his entire life and had very little to show for it money-wise. He couldn't even retire, and hated how lazy and uncaring this new generation of children were. The world tempted to kill two birds with one stone, and profit off the misery of children. The Coachman does well to hide what the world has turned him into, but briefly, you can see he's become a jeering devil. He employs jobless men to assist him, and they too also gave into their wants and desires and have assumed shadowy ghoul-like appearances.
- The uneducated and idiotic townsfolk boys wanted a idealistic world with no rules, where they were free of consequences, they gave into the world and became vandals and hoodlums, making jackasses of themselves.
- Sadly even animals are not immune to the world's evil. Monstro started off as just an ordinary shy blue whale, but grew weary of constantly filter-feeding tiny plankton for nourishment, he was tired of always being hungry and never full. The world tempted the baleen whale with its rich oceans to swallow up larger prey, eat and devour everything in sight. Monstro gave into his gluttony, and turned into a monstrous terrifying leviathan as a result.
- Pinocchio is no exception and the world has constantly maliciously tried to corrupt him from the day he became alive, it tempted him with fame and fortune, tempted him to care about his own health and not his father's well-being, tempted him to be a anti-social mess like Lampwick, and tempted him to abandon his father to Monstro.
Monstro's rage at the climax was motivated for fear of bad publicityYou're Monstro, a giant monster whale. You've established yourself quite nicely as the terror of the deep. None of the sea creatures can utter your name even. The sailors are terrified of you, and word of your deeds spreads across the land. Nothing escapes your belly, ever. You pride yourself upon it. Then one day a lit fire from inside disturbs your tranquil binge eating/sleeping routine, forcing you to sneeze mightily, and there go two insignificant people... swimming away from you. As a beast of nature, driven by instincts, you'd think hunger is the sole driving force for your enraged state. No, what makes you terrifying is you're a monster with a brain. You know two tiny morsels like that don't even count as a snack, they are not worth the time or effort to get one's self all worked up over. You may as well go back to sleep. But your ego won't allow it. If they get away and people hear how an old man and a small child escaped Monstro and lived you'll be a laughing stock. If the other oceanic creatures hear about this, that you let your prey go, you'll be a laughing stock. You have to chase them. You must catch them. Swallow them again. See that shore in front of you? What about that shore?
The Coachman is I. M. Meen's fatherWhy hasn't anybody done a theory like this, i mean, sit for a while and think about it
Pinocchio eventually tells Geppetto about Pleasure IslandAnd they go and rescue the donkeys. They also tell other townspeople, and everyone invades the island to save the donkeys. It just takes place after the Disney film. Not that there should be a sequel of course.
- The Blue Fairy would probably do it, but not before reminding the boys that it was their own foolishness that got them in this predicament. She'd give them a second chance and maybe the boys would be better behaved after what happened.
- Possibly, she would give them back their voices, but no more: they would give each one a cricket-conscience and they would all have to go through their own journey to become real boys.
However, the above didn't happen for a few decades.After twenty or thirty years someone finally noticed that little boys were going missing and the Coachman suspiciously had a never-ending supply of donkeys. After Pleasure Island is finally liberated, the law enforcement demand to know why Pinocchio and Jimmeny Cricket never bothered to mention it to anybody. Pinocchio explains that they were really, really busy fighting Monstro the Whale, while Jimmeny just cracks a typical '30s wisecrack along the lines of "I knew we were forgetting something!"
Alternatively, the donkey children can change back, if they prove themselves brave and kind and caring as Pinocchio did.That's how Pinocchio got to be a real boy, so maybe it applies to the donkeys. Taking a whipping for a co-worker donkey in the salt mines (or kicking the owner who's whipping them), taking the work load for an exhausted one, trying to comfort one who is sick or hurt, there's all sorts of ways they can express these ethics without words. Animals do this in Real Life so why not? If they remember being children, they might even pray.
The Coachman goes bankrupt soon after the Pleasure Island incidentThis came from a page on TV Tropes that states that some of the people he hired would expect to be paid. He's actually losing money rather than gaining. How's that for Laser-Guided Karma?
- What makes you think he's paying them? For all we know, the people he hired could only be working for him because he's, say, blackmailing them, or even threatening their lives.
Pinocchio spends more time on Pleasure Island than the film showsIn the book, he spends five months on the island. Who's to say he didn't spend that much time there in the film? The movie probably only showed the first and last days he was there—anything more would have been redundant. Either that, or...
Time flows differently on Pleasure Island than it does in the "real" worldE.g. a day on P.I. is, say, a month outside the island, which would explain why Geppetto's house/workshop looked like it had been abandoned for weeks although Pinocchio was seemingly only gone for a day or two. This would also explain the line "Not a bite for days..."
Pleasure Island is really of the Isle of Aeanea—the island where Circe turned Odysseus' crew into pigsThis applies to both the original novel and the Disney film. In The Odyssey, Circe lived on Aeanea, a mythical island that was supposedly off the west coast of Italy. By the time of Pinocchio, Circe was long gone but enough residual free-standing magic existed for the boys turn to into donkeys if they stayed there long enough.
Donkey from Shrek is one of the kids from Pleasure Island who could still talkIf Pinocchio himself appears in the movies, then an appearance of a P.I. donkey can be canon too.
Eeyore from Winnie The Pooh was one of the kids from Pleasure Island who could still talkHe lost his tail in an escape attempt. The trauma from that whole experience explains why Eeyore is depressed. The rest of the gang of the 100 acre wood doesn't know about Eeyore's depressing back story, except maybe Owl, who used it as blackmail material to steal Piglet's house.
- Jossed by the very utterance of "stuffed with sawdust". He was based on a plush donkey to begin with.
The Coachman is a demon who is turning boys into donkeys just to be a dickHe’s not in it for the money. Pleasure Island is just about the worst business idea ever. Not only do you have to pay to build the damned place, but you also have to pay to repair it every time you use it…and there’s just no way this is economically feasible. No, he’s in it For the Evulz. The money just keeps people like the Fox and the Cat happy, so they can continue collecting stupid little boys for him.
Lampy ends up being sold to a Tijuana Donkey ShowHe turned into a donkey when The Coachman and all of his workers were busy loading the other boys turned donkeys into crates for manual labor. It is likely that the manual labor donkeys get sold and shipped first and then the boys that turn to donkeys later get shipped to places like Tijuana for sick pleasure purposes. Pinocchio would've also be sold there if not for Jiminy and the Fairy Godmother turning him back.
Lampwick calms down and plots an escapeIt's a terrible situation, but he's been in jail before. He conspires with some of the others (maybe speaking donkey language, which the Coachman doesn't understand) to escape and blow the whistle on P.I.
Pinocchio is OmnipotentImagine if he said, "Either my nose will grow or dinosaurs come back to life."
- Jossed. In the book other forms of stress cause his nose to grow. So telling a paradox would likely cause the same effect as telling a lie.
Pinocchio can feel the earth's geomagnetic field.Pinocchio's nose gets longer when he is under stress. In the book, it's a more generic tell for different kinds of stress, but in animated adaptations, this tic is limited to lying, and there's a difference between lying (saying what is not, on purpose) and being mistaken. Christmas In Cartoontown has a scene where someone asks Pinocchio for directions, and we see a close-up on Pinocchio's face until it becomes clear that his nose won't get any longer. This focus on Pinocchio's lie tic implies that Pinocchio must be confident in the direction. So one of two things must be true:
- In Real Life, geomagnetism affects plant growth. Being a wood golem, Pinocchio has plant sense. This would end after he takes human form.
- Alternate hypothesis: A wearable compass like the North Paw compass exists in the animated fairy tale universe. It measures Earth's geomagnetic field and vibrates part of a band worn around the user's ankle. This ends up training the brain to figure out where north points, and the effect would persist after he takes human form.
The Coachman is the Blue Fairy's Evil CounterpartThe Fairy's job is to reward good behavior, such as giving Geppetto a son after he's spent his life making others happy, and turning Pinocchio into a real boy when he proves worthy. The Coachman, on the other hand, is there to punish evil behavior. That's why he gets to be a Karma Houdini; like the Fairy he is a supernatural being fulfilling a function (as horrifying as it is). That's why the Fairy said she would be unable to help Pinocchio after the Stromboli incident, but later appeared as a bird to offer him a hint. She knew Pinnochio was going up against the Coachman next, and she is forbidden to interfere with him; Pinocchio is on his own for that ordeal. Once he gets away, she can again offer aid.
The talking donkeys were sold to glue factoriesAgain, with the boys who were turned into donkeys, it is quite clear that the ones who could not talk were sold to various places (its written on the boxes) such as salt mines. However, what happened to the ones who could still talk? It's probably that they were sold to glue factories so they would be killed in order to stop them talking...
The Figaro who belongs to Minnie Mouse is the great great great great grandson of the original Figaro in the movieHow else would it be possible for Figaro to be Minnie Mouse's cat AND Geppetto's cat?
The Blue Fairy is a well-known figure.Remember when Pinocchio first comes to life, he tells Gepetto that "The Blue Fairy" made him that way? Gepetto seems to know exactly who he's talking about.
- Since she's either an Expy of or related to the Virgin Mary, this is very likely true.
Monstro is a Livyatan melvillei that somehow survived to the present.This would not have been intended by the filmmakers, since the film was released 68 years before Livyatan was discovered, but he fits the description unbelievably well. As for the traits such as being oversized, this can be chalked up to the way the scariness of prehistoric life tends to be exaggerated in fiction.
Jimmeny Cricket went on to become the conscience for many Affably Evil villains.Jimmy Cricket's idea of being a "conscience" is to scold Pinocchio for missing school, smoking, and "playing pool!", but says nothing about all the boys-turned-donkeys being sold into slavery. Pinocchio never experiences any remorse over the "best friend" who begged him for help. When he's reminded of his donkey ears and tail upon reuniting with his father, he simply laughs about having ears and a tail; his "conscience" says nothing about the boys on Pleasure Island. Basically, Jimmeny Cricket's idea of "morality" is self-preservation, and that's it. After helping Pinocchio, Jimmeny went on to mentor a young Claude Frollo, Dolores Umbridge, Miss Hattie, Magneto, various Bond villains, and countless other notable individuals who were as prim and proper as they were cold-hearted bastards.
The Coachman Goons are actually Heartless.They are shadow figures and they had glowing eyes, just like the Coachman goons. It could be a possibility that those goons are actually stronger versions of a common shadow heartless
The Coachman is an avatar of ChernabogNotice how the coachman is implied to be a nonhuman being mostly because of his four-fingered hands, his preferred method of punishing children, which may involve magic and his memorable Nightmare Face. Since he's strongly implied to be the freaking devil himself, and we all know that the Disney Animated Canon's Ultimate Evil and own version of Satan is Chernabog himself, it's safe to assume both characters are one and the same. But how? You may wonder given Chernabog himself is a Sealed Evil in a Can who is encased in Bald Mountain every morning and is only allowed to reveal himself at nighttime, it'd be impossible for him to leave the place. However, he possesses some decidedly Eldritch Abomination qualities, so it's probably possible that, like good ol' Nyarlathotep (i know he's not sealed, but has made several avatars for himself) he has created many avatars of himself as well to spread chaos and evil in a more efficient way, the coachman being one of them.
Pleasure Island is the Coachman's attempt at scaring the boys straightHe's not really selling the boys away to do hard slave labour. The entire thing is an act. He's a hard working man that despises the hooligans that make up the new generation, and so he is taking it upon himself to teach them a lesson they won't forget. He set up the donkey transformations, and the scene Jiminy witnessed was staged. After taking the boys off the island, they thought they were going to be put to back-breaking labour, but instead, they find themselves turned back to normal, and are then lectured by the Coachman about the payoffs of good behaviour. As for his conversation with Honest John and Gideon... Um...Heat of the moment?
- Good one! That's why they "never come back as boys". The transformations are temporary and they might be put to work for that period (e.g. pulling the carriage), but once they change back they amend their lives. He might even bluff to them that "next time you'll be a donkey FOREVER."
The Coachman is a member of The Fair Folk.
- He's already Ambiguously Human.
- Some Fair Folk did steal children, usually boys. for different reasons, but nevertheless.
- We don't know his motives, which could be due to Blue and Orange Morality.
- We never learn his name, either. It was believed that if you know a fairy's true name, you have some sort of power over them.
- As an above WMG noted, when Pinocchio leaves Pleasure Island, "Geppetto's house/workshop looks like it had been abandoned for weeks although Pinocchio was seemingly only gone for a day or two," and Geppetto later says "Not a bite for days..." while in Monstro's stomach. Pleasure Island could be sort of a mini-FairyLand, where time passes differently.