Sunday, May 20, 2007

Pinocchio Part 9A

I mentioned in Part 8A that Stromboli's orchestra is suggested by just showing the bell of a horn and remarked how economical that was. I've since stumbled on a model sheet at that shows the decision to economize was not the initial approach.

This sequence, where Geppetto leaves his home to search for Pinocchio, is short and deceptively simple. It actually is important for defining what the movie is about. One of the main questions every filmmaker has to ask is, "What is important?" What needs to be shown and what needs to be left out? This sequence, due to its brevity and humour, definitely establishes that Geppetto's problems are not what concerns this movie. Pinocchio is the focus.

It doesn't have to be this way. One Hundred and One Dalmatians downplays the puppies to focus on the adult animals. The puppies don't really become a part of the story until they're found by Tibbs the cat, an adult involved in the search. In this way, Dalmatians resembles The Searchers, where we don't see Debbie after her capture until Ethan and Martin find her. It is possible to make a film that concentrates on both parties in a separation, which is what Finding Nemo does by following both Marlin and Nemo.

Pinocchio fudges things about Geppetto in this sequence. We never see him leave the house until he decides to search for Pinocchio. Yet we can tell by the dinner, including cake for Cleo, that Geppetto must have gone to the market during the day. Realistically, Geppetto must interact with the rest of the village at some minimal level, but for the purposes of this story, he must be seen as a recluse to justify the creation of a wooden son and the decision to abandon Pinocchio at the front door.

Animation-wise, this sequence is cast by character. Except for scene 2, where Jack Bradbury and Fred Madison appear, all of Geppetto is done by Babbitt, all of Figaro is by Larson and all of Cleo is by Lusk. Geppetto's sadness is conveyed by his bent back, but the scene is dominated by Larson's Figaro. The cat's anticipation for dinner, his lying about his intentions and his disappointment at being thwarted are all vividly realized by Larson. Scene 15, in particular, is an excellent piece of acting.

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