The whale chase begins. It's certainly one of the most exciting sequences in Disney films to that time and one that remains impressive today. The action is intense. Monstro is an enormous physical threat due to his size and power. The water is convincingly portrayed, making the threat of drowning real. We don't doubt for a second that Pinocchio and Geppetto are fighting for their lives.
This sequence showcases the sophisticated understanding of water that the Disney effects animators had. If you compare the portrayal of water in this film with the water in Gulliver's Travels, released just a year earlier, the difference is striking. Gulliver opens with a storm at sea, but the water simply doesn't feel as liquid as the water in Pinocchio. In some Gulliver scenes, the foam on the waves seems to be sewed on, not sliding over the surface or changing its shape enough to be convincing.
The water here works due to a combination of elements. There is the undulating surface, marked by independently moving masses which sometimes overlap. The undulation is helped by the colour-separated detail that flows over it and which constantly changes shape. There are also the foam and the splashes which break up and change shape over time. Colour, too, is critical, as the water has to reflect the environment it is in.
Art Palmer, Josh Meador and Don Tobin did fantastic work on the water here. With the exception of Meador, few Disney effects animators have any sort of reputation. Sequences like this show that they deserve to.