A 1987 animated feature released by New World Pictures, made by Filmation
One year after becoming a real boy, Geppetto feels Pinocchio's ready to take on some responsibility, and so entrusts him with a delivery job: take a hand-crafted jewel box
to the Mayor. Unfortunately, he instead trades the box away to a pair of con artists he meets on the road, in exchange for a big, shiny (fake) ruby.
Geppetto, when he finds out, is somewhat less than pleased).
That night, a guilt-ridden Pinocchio runs away from home
to join the mysterious carnival
that sprung up overnight. It's run by a totally upright, trustworthy, not-creepy-in-the-least
puppetmaster (named Puppetino) who tempts Pinocchio into a dance with Twinkle, "The Most Beautiful Puppet In The World"
... if he shows him what he can do first. What follows can only be described as an exercise in creepy, as Pinocchio is forced to dance as he watches himself turn back into a puppet.
If the viewer hasn't been scared into shutting the movie off yet, the Blue Fairy comes in and makes everything better, after a brief but stern reminder about "The Power Of Choice" and an amusing callback to the original tale as he tries to explain just how he got into that predicament in the first place. Pinocchio, now flesh-and-blood again, immediately decides to prove his newfound sense of responsibility... by going out to get the jewel box back.
A series of hijinks later, Pinocchio finds himself in the ominous Empire of the Night, being tempted onto a gondola ride by a mysterious figure. Again, Pinocchio's excellent judgment
shines through as he decides to make a pit stop in "The Land Where Dreams Come True," which plays out like a Disney Acid Sequence
, heavy on the acid. Despite the strangeness of the place, Pinocchio finds all his wishes are granted... the opportunity to have fun with no rules, an unlimited supply of toys, and fame and fortune.
But if you've been paying attention, you know there's a price...
The movie was designed to be a sequel to the classic tale
, but audiences felt more like they were watching a Re-Tread of the Disney version.
It hit a lot of similar notes, including but not limited to: Funny Animal
con artists, a Jiminy Cricket-esque conscience figure, a sadistic, cruel puppetmaster, a place where kids are free to do whatever they like, and a titanic battle on the high seas.
Possibly due to these similarities, the film was a commercial failure, costing $8 million to make but only pulling in $3.2 million throughout its whole run. However, it retains a small but loyal cult following; fans of the movie will illustrate the many differences between the two films, one of which is this film's Aesop about the power of choice, and the theme of temptation as a form of captivity. They'll also cite the Darker and Edgier
nature of the opposition; in particular, Puppetino's transformation of Pinocchio and the appearance of the eponymous Emperor of the Night are unique, impressive, and terrifying to this day.
. See also Happily Ever After
, another Filmation effort that served as a sequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
This film contains examples of:
- Aesop Amnesia: The movie pretty much runs off this, in regards to Pinocchio forgetting every single lesson he learned in the original story.
- And I Must Scream: While Pinocchio is being turned back into a puppet, the camera cuts several times to closeups of Twinkle watching, implying that her original human self is still conscious trapped inside her now puppet body and aware of what's happening.
- Award Bait Song: "Love Is a Light (Inside Your Heart)".
- Beware the Nice Ones: Pinocchio, of all people. He doesn't actually throw any punches, but he still gets surprisingly badass during the film's climax.
- Big Bad: Puppetino for the first half of the film, The Emperor of the Night for the second.
- Big Good: The Blue Fairy, naturally.
- Circus of Fear: Very much shades of Something Wicked This Way Comes.
- Dance Party Ending: Well, at least Geppetto, Twinkle, and Pinocchio dance before heading off into the sunrise. Comes this close to being a "YEAH!" Shot ending.
- The Dragon: Puppetino, it turns out. While very effective at first, particularly in using temptation to get Pinocchio to make his Deal with the Devil, by the end he proves to be next to useless, cowering like a random Mook, and when the shit hits the fan is a Dirty Coward. Even his powers seem to be a gift from the Emperor, if his ultimate fate also implies a stripping of those powers, thus rendering even his earlier crowning moments rather lackluster in retrospect. His fear of his boss, however, was likely due to fear of You Have Outlived Your Usefulness or You Have Failed Me (and he was right to worry).
- Eldritch Abomination: The Emperor.
- Everything's Better With Monkeys: Igor.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Evil sounds like James Earl Jones.
- Exposition Fairy: Gee Whillikers, taking the Jiminy Cricket role for this movie.
- Expy: It's painfully obvious that Scalawag and Igor are meant to be stand-ins for Foulfellow and Gideon. However, because raccoons are cute, chubby, and cuddly, and Everything's Better with Monkeys, these two end up proving their inner heroism by swallowing their cowardice, doing a Heel-Face Turn, and helping Pinocchio out in the end—if only by getting him to the empire and then standing by him when it counted.
- Besides those two, we have
Jiminy Cricket Gee Willikers, a small insect named after an interjection who tries to keep Pinocchio on the straight and narrow, and a painfully obvious expy of Lampwick in the Pleasure Island Neon Cabaret scene.
- Also, let's be honest with ourselves here: "Emperor of the Night" is a fancy way of saying "Satan" without parents losing their shit — because, clearly, by any logical criteria, the Emperor is Satan.
- Friend or Idol Decision: The Emperor of the Night pulls one of these on Pinocchio, trying to make him choose between Geppetto, Twinkle, and his friends on the one hand versus his freedom. Pinocchio decides to Take a Third Option. Things end poorly for the villain.
- Glamour Failure: The glowing red eyes on all of the Emperor's various incarnations.
- Good Hurts Evil: Or at least, the purity of Pinocchio's Heroic Sacrifice and The Power of Love does. Both lampshaded and foreshadowed by the Blue Fairy's pep-talk Aesop song.
- Grotesque Gallery
- Heel-Face Turn: Scalawag and Igor, though they were fairly Lovable Rogues in the first place.
- Heel Realization: Scalawag's moment in prison, when he realizes that all of them had succumbed to the power of their own dark desires, which allowed the Emperor to manipulate, corrupt, and ultimately ensnare them.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Mr. Grant (or Hudson) and Abu (what did you expect?) are the two con men, Barney Fife is Gee Willikers, Commodore Decker is Puppetino, and the Emperor of the Night is, of course, Darth Vader. Linda Gary also appears.
- Believe it or not, that is indeed future Steve Smith playing Pinocchio
- Horrible Judge of Character: Pinocchio, again.
- Idiot Hero: Almost all of the bad things that happen in the film are the direct result of Pinocchio not only completely disregarding common sense, but ignoring the shrieking bug telling him that what he's doing is a bad idea.
- I Lied: The Emperor pulls this trope after Pinocchio agrees to give away his freedom in exchange for Geppetto, Twinkle, Scalawag, and Igor being released. Big mistake.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Scalawag, in the end. (Natch, considering his VA.)
- Karma Houdini: Technically, everything that happens in the movie is the fault of Scalawag and Igor for taking the music box from Pinocchio, yet because in the end they change sides and stand by him, they're given free passes, everyone walks off as friends, and this is never really brought up again. Justified, perhaps, in that unlike Foulfellow and Gideon, they were thieves and con men for fun and profit, not out of malice, they clearly regretted their mistakes, and they genuinely do redeem themselves.
- Keep Circulating the Tapes: Between the poor box-office performance of this film and Filmation's demise, the chances of a DVD release are slim. Apart from a R2 release.
- Large Ham: James Earl Jones as the Emperor lingers over every syllable of every line here, clearly having a blast with the role.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Puppetino's fate. What isn't clear is whether this is just the Emperor inflicting a particularly delicious and ironic punishment, or if he was restoring him to what he used to be.
- Lions And Tigers And Humans -- Oh, My!
- Puppet Permutation
- Satellite Love Interest: Twinkle exists pretty much to tempt Pinocchio and be a living MacGuffin for the second half of the movie.
- That Reminds Me of a Song: The set-up for the Award Bait Song listed above probably qualifies as this, particularly since it existed solely to show off the talents of Rickie Lee Lake. However, the song in question was crucial to the Aesop as well as the climax of the film, and while never mentioned explicitly again an instrumental version of it does play as part of the soundtrack during said climax. Anvilicious, perhaps, but still effective.
- This Is Something He's Got To Do Himself: Pinocchio's determination to get the jewel box back and thus prove his responsibility and trustworthiness, whatever the cost. He means well, but it does come across as a bit of Lawful Stupid behavior.
- Wacky Wayside Tribe: Bugsburg.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Scalawag and Igor, as a distraction to snap Pinocchio out of his fame-and-fortune illusion. Definitely not an Attractive Bent-Gender moment.