(out of 5)
If you took your money and put it through a paper shredder you’d get more entertainment than from watching this awful film. Roberto Benigni directs and stars as Carlo Collodi’s incorrigible puppet, a young wooden boy who tries to stay on the straight and narrow but is far too easily led towards the path of wickedness by morally loose friends and his own selfishness. Nicoletta Braschi (in real life Mrs. Benigni and the film’s producer) plays the kind-hearted Blue Fairy who is constantly willing to bail the little boy she loves so much out of all his troubles. Those looking to see the real story as told in Collodi’s dark novel will instead find an addended adaptation of the Disney version, one that at first seems to offer more story than Disney but actually tells the same tale with more endless contrivances. The screenplay and dialogue are terrible, the pace couldn’t be any slower and Benigni opts to forgo any puppet-like makeup or physical effects and instead bounces around the entire film like a goofy idiot. To add insult to injury, the film’s North American release has been distributed with a dubbed soundtrack, featuring a whole slew of famous American actors doing an execrable job of replacing the original dialogue. Breckin Meyer (Clueless) supplies Benigni’s voice, and basically does nothing but shout at the top of his lungs for two hours.
Melampo Cinematografica, Cecchi Gori Group Fin.Ma.Vi.
Directed by Roberto Benigni
Screenplay by Roberto Benigni, Vincenzo Cerami, English adaptation by Brendan Donnison, based on the novel by Carlo Collodi
Cinematography by Dante Spinotti
Produced by Gianluigi Braschi, Nicoletta Braschi, Elda Ferri
Music by Nicola Piovani
Production Design by Danilo Donati
Costume Design by Danilo Donati
Film Editing by Simona Paggi