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The Adventures Of Pinocchio Review

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Magically created by ageing toymaker Gepetto (Landau in endearing form), the eponymous boy toy embarks on a quest to become a real child when his antics capture the attention of Lorenzini (Kier) who tricks the puppet into an amusement park where children are transformed into donkeys to be sold at a premium...

★★★★★

Steve Barron's latest version of Carlo Collodi's novel offers little to compete with our memories of and affection for the animated Disney classic. Though well crafted and occasionally charming, it lacks the emotional punch and genuine sense of wonder needed to bring the fable alive.

As if you didn't know, the oft-told tale unfolds thus: magically created by ageing toymaker Gepetto (Landau in endearing form), the eponymous boy toy embarks on a quest to become a real child. However, his antics capture the attention of Lorenzini (Kier) who tricks the puppet into an amusement park where children are transformed into donkeys to be sold at a premium...

Apart from the wisecracking cricket, this rejects the hip factor of modern kids' flicks in favour of a straightforward telling of the yarn. Yet this admirable approach is ill-served by slow, episodic plotting, heavy-handed humour and poorly etched characters that barely register. As voiced by Taylor Thomas (voice of The Lion King's Simba) Pinocchio - a mixture of animatronics and CGI effects - makes a cute enough hero but is unlikely to clear the shelves at Toys R Us.

The set-pieces are smartly handled and Barron visually captures the storybook feel. However such pleasures aside, those seeking top notch family fare will find this outmoded, run-of-the-mill diversion more than a tad, shall we say... wooden.

Those seeking top notch family fare will find this outmoded, run-of-the-mill diversion more than a tad, shall we say... wooden.

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