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Film / Geppetto

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"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."

Geppetto is a Wonderful World of Disney TV musical released in 2000, starring Drew Carey, Brent Spiner and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, with songs 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 much 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.


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

This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Stromboli's book counterpart, Mangiafuoco, is described as being an incredibly ugly character, while his animated counterpart is ugly and a Fat Bastard. Brent Spiner's version has neither of these traits.
    • In the animated film, Pleasure Island was run by the creepy old Coachman. Here, the owner is a dashing ringleader played by none other than Usher.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Spiner's Stromboli is much hammier and more comedic than previous iterations of the villain. The Blue Fairy also has a snarkier edge to her this time around.
  • Adaptational Dye-Job: While Disney’s Blue Fairy is a blonde, and her book counterpart is quite literally “The Fairy with Turquoise Hair”, Julia Louise-Dreyfus retains her dark hair for the role.
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  • Adaptational Jerkass: On top of being much snarkier than previous versions of the character, Geppetto expresses disappointment in his new son when he refuses to pursue toy making (a career that he actively tries to force on Pinocchio), and even asks the Blue Fairy to revert him back to lifelessness to spare him any more trouble. He eventually learns to accept Pinocchio for who he is throughout his journey.
  • Adaptational Villainy: Whereas Stromboli is a Threshold Guardian in other adaptations, he becomes the Big Bad here by spending the duration of the film seeking out Pinocchio and trying to get him back into his traveling show.
  • 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.
  • Adorably Precocious Child: Idyillia is an entire village of these that take things Up to Eleven. Which is kind of the point because they are all Artificial Humans created by Professor Buonragazzo to give the adults perfect children.
  • An Aesop: Always allow your child the freedom to pursue their own goals, and never pressure them into pursuing your own.
  • Age Lift: Geppetto is an old man in the original story, but is portrayed by the much younger Drew Carey here.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Lezarno was actually working with the Blue Fairy to help teach Geppetto about parenting. It's never specified if he was actually a struggling magician or if the entire thing was just an act.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Geppetto goes through this…the hard way.
  • Become a Real Boy: As usual, this is Pinocchio's goal.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Played for Laughs. During “And Son”, Geppetto steps outside just to yell “QUIET!” at a rooster who crows one too many times.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lezarno the magician, Signora Giovanni, the Buonragazzos and the entire town of Idyllia are exclusive to this version of Pinocchio.
  • 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.
  • Character Title: Being a Perspective Flip of the traditional Pinocchio tale, the film is named after Geppetto.
  • Dark Reprise: After the newly donkey-fied Pinocchio is shipped away, the Ringleader and his goons bid Geppetto farewell with a very creepy reprise of "Pleasure Island".
  • Deadpan Snarker: This version of Geppetto has shades of this, courtesy of the naturally-snarky Drew Carey.
    Pinocchio: Wow, I slept like a log!
    Geppetto: You are a log. Get dressed.
  • Decomposite Character: The Coachman has essentially been split into two characters here: the Ringleader, who serves as the bona fide master of Pleasure Island, and a non-speaking coachman who picks up Pinocchio and the other boys.
  • 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!"
  • 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?"
  • "I Want" Song: "Empty Heart" for Geppetto, who sings about his desire to have a child of his own.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: As Geppetto sings a song about how much he loves Pinocchio and how Stromboli can take his whole shop and everything in it, Stromboli actually looks touched, and after the song, tells Geppetto that it was very sweet, but than states he's only interested in Pinocchio and takes him anyway.
  • Large Ham: Stromboli, Buonragazzo, Lezarno, 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.
  • 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!
  • Post-Climax Confrontation: After Pinocchio and Gepetto escape from Monstro, they return home only to find Stromboli there to make one last attempt to force Pinocchio back to his show.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Just before the start of the song "Just because it's magic", the Blue Fairy states that she never makes mistakes, saying "The green fairy makes mistakes, the orange fairy makes many, many mistakes, but I never ever make mistakes." Even if that statement is true, it shows some arrogance to her.
  • 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).
  • Stepford Suburbia: Or rather village due to being in 19th century Italy, but the point remains as Idyllia has their children made via a machine and they come out being absolutely perfect both in terms of being more well behaved than what his considered any type of normal to all of them being some kind of prodigy.
  • Villain Song: "Bravo Stromboli" for Stromboli, "Pleasure Island" for the Ringleader (Usher) and his cronies.