Benigni's 'Pinocchio' Needs Fairy Magic
Razzies board: Are you listening? Just when it seemed as though "Swept Away" and "The Adventures of Pluto Nash" had a lock on next spring's Golden Raspberry Awards -- celebrating the worst that Hollywood has to offer -- along comes the Christmas turkey "Pinocchio," Roberto Benigni's version of the story of the little puppet who wants to be a real boy.
It's a real bomb, say critics.
Calling the movie, like its title character, "a chunk of pine ... that will be avoided by millions of people," Thursday's review in The New York Times opined that the badly dubbed Italian movie is "still awaiting the magic touch to transmute it into a real live movie."
Only four years ago, Benigni, now 50, was Oscar's darling, with awards lavished upon his concentration-camp film "Life Is Beautiful."
Benigni, who climbed over the heads of Steven Spielberg and others in his mad rush to get to the stage to collect his Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, has said in interviews that making "Pinocchio" has been a lifelong dream.
Speaking recently to Canada's Edmonton Journal, Benigni pointed out how his version would differ from the 1940 Walt Disney animated classic. For starters, Benigni planned to kill Jiminy Cricket.
"Pinocchio kills him with a hammer," Benigni said, laughing. "Pinocchio can't stand him. He's always telling him to go to school and be nice. So Pinocchio can't take it anymore -- shut up! But he won't stop talking, so -- boom! -- he dies. It's very funny."
Not to everybody.
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