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A Walt Disney Home Video Release
1940, 88 Minutes, Color, Rated G

Featuring The Voices Of:  Dickie Jones, Cliff Edwards, Charles Judels, Evelyn Venable
List Price:  $39.99 USD, released 10/26/99
Packaging:  Keepcase, Region 1 NTSC
Disc Format:  Single Sided, Dual Layered (DVD-9)
Aspect Ratio:  1.33:1 Fullscreen
Audio Formats:  English 4.0, French 2.0
Subtitles:  English
Closed Captioning:  English
Features:  Theatrical Trailer, Interactive Menus

Disney’s classic animated movie brings to life the story of Geppetto, a humble woodcarver who wishes his latest and greatest marionette was alive. Late one night, a blue fairy visits the house and brings the little wooden puppet magically to life. However, before he can truly become a real boy he must first prove that he is honest, loyal and brave. And thus begins the fantastic adventures of Pinocchio, accompanied by his officially-appointed conscience, Jiminy Cricket. They’ll find themselves confronted by crooks, in show business, on a mysterious carnival island and in the belly of Monstro the gigantic whale.

Released in 1940, Pinocchio’s film elements are beginning to show their age. Though THX-enhanced to a condition even better than new, certain scenes and splices show noticeable degradation. However, the full-screen image’s sharpness is excellent as is color saturation and noise. Animation is fairly tricky to compress with MPEG – and old film animation even more so. Pinocchio’s 88 minute length is presented on a dual-layered disc containing 5.7 gigabytes of video – that’s just over 1 megabyte per second. Needless to say, no compression artifacts are visible. The film is divided into 24 chapters. Since the film contains numerous natural sound blips and dark silent scene changes, the layer change was undetectable.

Speaking of sound, Pinocchio is much better than advertised. The Amaray packaging merely lists "stereo", but in reality you’ll find a true Dolby Digital 4.0 soundtrack. Essentially the same as the ProLogic-decoded results from a 2.0 track so encoded, this is in fact much better – you’ll hear the center and rear channels (the latter of which is understandably underused) exactly as they should be heard. This is the way all ProLogic DVDs should be presented. Otherwise, the audio is as good as can be expected for a film of this age. Sonic range is much improved over the VHS version and everything – including unremovable background noise – is reproduced in perfect clarity. Also included is a stereo French soundtrack and English subtitles.

Extras are sadly missing for a disc coupled with an astronomical $40 USD price tag. The original 1940 theatrical trailer is a nice touch, but listing "full-color character artwork on disc" as a feature is insulting to true collectors. Much more could have – and should have – been done.

This is the best quality reproduction of Pinocchio yet, so if you or your family enjoyed this film and can get it for a good price it’s definitely worth owning.

- Reviewed by Daniel Tonks on November 20, 1999.

Video Quality:
Audio Quality:
1-Poor 2-Fair 3-Good 4-Excellent
System Equipment
Sony DVP-S500D DVD Player
Sony STR-GA8ES 5.1 Receiver
Sony 32" XBR250 WEGA TV using Component
Nuance Spatial & Star Series Speakers

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