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Film / Geppetto

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Geppetto is a Wonderful World of Disney TV musical released in 2000, starring Drew Carey, Brent Spiner and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The songs are by Stephen Schwartz. As the title suggests, it retells the story of Pinocchio from its maker's perspective.

After watching parents interacting with their children, Geppetto the toymaker (Drew Carey) muses how many of the mothers and fathers don't seem to be doing a good job of bringing up their kids. That evening, after closing his shop up for the night, he wishes how his newly-made puppet was a real boy, and that night, the Blue Fairy (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) appears in his shop and grants his wish.

Geppetto finds that parenthood is a lot harder than it looks, and after an argument, Pinocchio runs away, provoking Geppetto to go after him. Along his journey, Geppetto finds out what it means to be a parent.

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The film was eventually converted into a stage musical entitled "My Son Pinocchio: Geppetto's Musical Tale".


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: Goes into more detail about Geppetto's personality than the original book or animated Disney film.
  • Adapted Out: Jiminy Cricket is nowhere to be found in this version, save for a brief name drop by Buonragazzo. The Fox and the Cat (AKA Honest John and Gideon) have also been omitted entirely.
  • Age Lift: Geppetto is an old man in the original story, but is portrayed by the much younger Drew Carey here.
  • An Aesop: Always allow your child the freedom to pursue their own goals, and never pressure them into pursuing your own.
  • Become a Real Boy: As usual, this is Pinocchio's goal.
  • Compressed Adaptation: Since it's a 90 minute made-for-TV film, this was pretty much inevitable. Most notably, the Monstro sequence is quickly wrapped up in about three minutes.
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  • Dark Reprise: After the newly donkey-fied Pinocchio is shipped away, the Ringmaster and his goons bid Geppetto farewell with a very creepy reprise of "Pleasure Island".
  • Character Title: The movie is named after the protagonist.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Blue Fairy makes this clear in the "Just Because It's Magic" number:
    "Happy is the man who's finally learned
    Happy endings must be earned!"
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Professor Buonragazzo explains that the town of Idyllia tried to make children "the old-fashioned way". Given that he is indirectly mentioning sex, his machine seems to be better, albeit more family-friendly alternative to producing a child for infertile couples as well as those who are unwilling to go through the painful process of childbirth.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • At the beginning, Geppetto boasts that all his toys are 'satisfaction guaranteed'. Later in the film, he stumbles across the town Idylia, where Professor Buonragazzo claims that all the children he creates in his machine are 'satisfaction guaranteed'.
    • Another one: When the Blue Fairy animates Pinocchio, she says, "For what good is a real father if he does not have a real son to come home to?" Right at the end, after turning Pinocchio into a real boy, she says, "What good would it do making Pinochhio a real boy, if he did not have a real father to come home to?"
  • Large Ham: Stromboli, Buonragazzo, Lizardo, the Ringleader, pretty much everyone except Geppetto and Pinocchio.
  • Perspective Flip: It's a retelling of the classic Pinocchio story, told from the perspective of Geppetto.
    Geppetto: Once upon a time not so very long ago, there was a little wooden puppet named Pinocchio... but alas, this is not his story. This is the story of that important but overlooked character, Geppetto. That's me, Pinocchio's dad.
  • Please, I Will Do Anything!: A variation near the end.
    Geppetto: Isn't there anything I can do?
    Stromboli: No!
    Geppetto: You can take anything.
    Stromboli: No!
    Geppetto: Take everything!
  • Stage Magician: Wayne Brady's character, Lizardo. He's pretty terrible at magic, but he has no choice but to pursue it in order to carry on the family legacy (this reflects Pinocchio's own struggle when Geppetto pushes him to be a toymaker).
  • Villain Song: "Bravo Stromboli" for Stromboli, "Pleasure Island" for the Ringleader (Usher) and his cronies.

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