It seems safe to say that for the rest of recorded history, 2022 will no doubt be known as “that year with not one but two Pinocchio remakes.” You’d be forgiven for having forgotten about the first already, as the initial teaser for director Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion animation Pinocchio reimagining first dropped back in January, but it is intended for release in the Christmas season of 2022. That film looks more inspired by the original Italian novela that gave us Pinocchio, and stars Ewan McGregor as one “Sebastian J. Cricket,” who lived “inside the heart of the wooden boy.” It also looks quite distinct thematically, as it will reportedly take place in fascist 1930s Italy, no doubt capturing some of del Toro’s persistent themes present in movies like Pan’s Labyrinth and The Devil’s Backbone.
And then … there’s also the movie trailer below, which is a very different Pinocchio indeed. This version, from Robert Zemeckis, is a much more traditional Disney live action adaptation that looks to be following very closely in the mold of live-action reboots of Beauty and the Beast or The Lion King, which the teaser helpfully reminds us are also Disney properties, in case you forgot. This version stars none other than Tom Hanks as woodcarver Geppetto, with additional turns from the likes of Luke Evans as The Coachman, Keegan-Michael Key as “Honest” John, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as the more familiar Jiminy Cricket, who gets a lot of screen time in the trailer. Not appearing? Pinocchio’s face, although the design looks extremely inspired by the classic animated version from 1940.
One bit of casting that will no doubt result in some unpleasant attention from a certain subset of the American population is Cynthia Erivo, playing the Blue Fairy whose magic initially brings Pinocchio to life. Given the reprehensible treatment of actress Moses Ingram on the new Disney+ Obi-Wan Kenobi series for the crime of existing as a black woman in the Star Wars universe, one can only imagine how much abuse Erivo may have to put up with for her appearance here, given the surging virulence of white nationalism in our country.
In terms of the actual content of this trailer, though, it’s a little hard to even get past all the sugar lumped on top of sugar. Even by Disney standards, this is some saccharine stuff—I mean really, how many years has it been since you’ve heard any portion of “When You Wish Upon a Star” in a way that was not ironic or satirical? Are we even ready for this much unabashed Disney-ness? You’ll have until Sept. 8, 2022 to decide, when Pinocchio hits theaters in wide release.