Today's animated feature is Pinocchio, a moral tale that features no princesses at all. But, it does have a fairy and that's enough for my daughter.
Geppetto is a lonely woodcarver who makes really neat clocks and toys. But, he's lonely. He has a cat and goldfish to keep him company, but one night he wishes on the wishing star (the evening/morning star; Venus actually) that his latest puppet creation would become a real boy. He has named his puppet Pinocchio (I assume because it's made of pine)
That night, the Blue Fairy appears and grants his wish. However, the puppet is to stay wooden until it proves itself worthy of becoming a real boy. He must be unselfish and brave. She dubs Jiminy Cricket, a bug that has snuck inside for warmth, as Pinocchio's "conscience".
Jiminy really sucks at being a conscience because he sleeps in while Pinocchio skips his first day of school to join a marionette group. Stromboli, the puppet master, sees a gold mine in Pinocchio, the stringless puppet, and locks him in a birdcage. The Blue Fairy appears to rescue him, but not until teaching him a lesson in honesty.
Next, Pinocchio gets tricked into going to Pleasure Island. Some of the other moms were appalled that the kids in Pleasure Island were smoking. "How dare they let them smoke in a children's film". But that's exactly the point. Pinocchio is trying to learn right from wrong. Right now the boys in Pleasure Island are destroying property, playing pool, staying up all night, and smoking. These are all things little kids should not do. So, they turn into jackasses. Literally. This is fantastic contrast to others films of this era, which everyone, good or bad, smokes. Many of our grandparents started smoking simply because their favorite actress smoked.
Later, it's up to Pinocchio to rescue his "father" Geppetto and his pets from the clutches of Monstro the evil whale. His tactic for finding the whale is to walk around the bottom of the ocean yelling, "Monstro!" and it works! He uses his wit to free everyone from the whale's stomach but is killed before he reaches shore. The Blue Fairy appears later at their house (because it is now night, and she only appears at night in the movie) and rewards him for his selflessness and bravery in rescuing his family. Suddenly, he transforms from a wooden puppet to a real boy. And everyone is happy!
My daughter and I really enjoyed watching this film. I feel it teaches a good message and had a high quality of animation. Even though it was made long ago, it still remains one of the best animated features we have seen. I will give it a 9/10.