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By Mike Lyons
June 11, 2000
This is the greatest animated film ever made. Sure, a statement like that ruffles the feathers of many aficionados, and sure the case could be made for other numerous features. In terms of artistry itself many argue for FANTASIA; in terms of pacing and timing others could point to the work of Chuck Jones; and for breaking the rules, still others favor Anime. But, for all of the elements that are an animated film--story, character, music, art, filmmaking--they don't come together more perfectly than they do in PINOCCHIO. Working on numerous levels (as childhood fantasy and an allegory for life itself) and with numerous levels (there's the lithe movements of Jiminy Cricket and the enormous, tactile mass of Monstro the whale), animation filmmaking has rarely achieved what Walt Disney and his artists achieved in this film.
In their book, THE DISNEY VILLAIN, animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston discuss a scene from PINOCCHIO, with writer John Culhane. In the sequence, one of the young boys, transformed into a jackass, cries, in terror, at the villainous Coachman, 'I want my mama!' Culhane noted, 'I have worried about that kid my whole life!' Such is the power of Pinocchio.