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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 11/24/99

1940 (1999) - Disney (Buena Vista)

review by Todd Doogan, special to The Digital Bits


Pinocchio Film Rating: A

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): A/A/B

Specs and Features

88 mins, G, full frame (1.33:1), single-sided, RSDL dual-layered (layer switch at 53:05, in chapter 15), Amaray keep case packaging, original theatrical trailer (1940), film-themed menu screens, scene access (24 chapters), languages: English (DD 3.0) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Close Captioned

He's got no strings, but he's finally on DVD. I know, I know -- many out there have a problem with Disney DVDs because of the price point issue, and lack of special edition material for such a high price. It's a sticky subject. When it comes to the price, you can find lower prices. Most of the Internet DVD sales sites offer the animation titles at reduced rates. The Disney Catalog has them at 29 bucks each, which is a good fair price. Word is, these prices will get better next year, and you'll also find more extras on Disney discs in 2000. I guess what I'm saying is, pretty soon it's going to be a non-issue, so I'm staying out of the politics and just reviewing the product.

Everyone knows Pinocchio, the beloved wooden marionette who wants to be a boy. I hardly feel a need to go into the story -- everyone remembers Pinocchio, Geppetto, Figaro and the whale known as Monstro. And who could forget Jiminy Cricket, Pleasure Island or the immortal Disney theme, When You Wish Upon A Star? It all makes for a potentially great DVD -- and in a lot of ways it is.

The picture quality here is pretty stellar. It's dual layered, which is pretty cool considering it's a little under 90 minutes long (that means the compression bit rate can be higher). That addition, though surprising for a Disney DVD, really ads to the overall quality of the disc. The colors are dead on -- they are full and very clean. When compared to the restored video that came out a few years ago, it's 300 times better. The blacks are deep and solid. I did notice a few digital artifacts, and some light edge enhancement, but it's nothing to really get concerned with. Considering the age of this film, and that it was a piece of pioneer animation -- it looks really sweet. The sound is as good as the picture. It's the original mono track sent through the three front channels, giving it a nice feel with no distortion or pops. Also included is a good French track (also mono, spread over two channels). The only real extra is the original 1940 theatrical trailer, which is a nice touch.

Although not loaded down, Pinocchio looks and sounds better than it has in years. And with DVD, that quality will last a LOT longer, so you parents don't have to worry about needing to buy a new copy when your kids wear the tape out after the 500th viewing. How's that for a collectable? I'm very excited about Disney finally getting some of their classic animation on DVD, and I hope they continue to pump them out. Hopefully, more and more with be special editions -- and look as great at this one.

Todd Doogan

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