Three social themes that Disney addresses in the film

Released September 8, 2022, Pinocchio is an American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Zemeckis. Originally based on that of Carlo Collodi The Adventures of Pinocchiothe 2022 live-action version also drew inspiration from the 1940 animated film of the same name.

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The plot revolved around Geppetto, a woodcarver, who carved a puppet and named it Pinocchio. The film chronicled the puppet’s journey after he was brought back to life by a wishing star. However, to be a true human, he was conditioned by the task of becoming courageous, selfless, and truthful.

Read on to learn about a few of the film’s underlying social themes.


Three social themes that Pinocchio (2022) addressed

The original tale has become a classic over time in children’s literature and has been referred to for drawing various parallels with relevant social topics. Likewise, the 2022 film highlighted some important social themes that were hard to miss.


1) Handbook for child trafficking

PinocchioThe portrayal of child trafficking was on point in that it highlights the intricacies that trap children in the circuit and how they are fooled into believing it was synonymous with having a good time.

Pleasure Island and the Coachman in the film symbolize child trafficking agents. Even the “deserted crossroads after dark” child abduction method singles out children from underprivileged families as potential victims.

Pleasure Island was designed as an amusement park where children are fed unlimited amounts of root beer and have the freedom to do whatever they want. It was defined as a place without police, parents and rules. In the 1940 animated film, children are intoxicated by a type of cigar.

While Pinocchio initially enjoyed being on the island, he grew fearful after witnessing the lawlessness all around. Breaking glasses, clocks, looting shops with no consequences and a school of degradation – it all seems to be part of the manual for becoming a deviant.

The result was turning into donkeys, resulting from possibly fortified drinks, and losing agency to think or act. Children are loaded onto boats and then trafficked to salt mines.


2) Peer pressure

An important segment of the film was the coachman’s take on peer pressure. This example was best demonstrated when Pinocchio was pressured by his peers after telling the stained-toothed Evans character that he didn’t trust him.

Additionally, Coachman called Pinocchio a “pooper who apparently doesn’t believe in having fun” and described Pleasure Island as full of “transformative experiences”.

The dialogue that followed hinted at the distance that must be bridged between children and their parents since coming home seemed like an uncool idea. The coachman then burst into a song, beginning with “It’s just peer pressure, unless you’re not a peer.”

The coachman continued, “If you’re not like all those kids, there’s nothing for you here.” It was a sensitive statement for Pinocchio, who had been trying to fit in since being brought live. Moreover, it also indicates how peer pressure can often affect children in the areas that matter most to their age.

“Don’t be a party boy afraid to have fun,” the coachman sang as he gave the other kids confidence and went on to say, “Real boys always want more. And real girls always like real boys more. “

In Pinocchioappropriate representation of peer pressure, conscience was flouted during adolescence. The protagonist, already reeling from social rejection, relented to adjust to expectations like a normal human being.


3) Brief focus on school education

Through a few situations, the adaptation explained how formal education in schools was not only linear, but did not necessarily parallel professional activities.

At first, Pinocchio was interrupted by the fox Honest John on his way to school. When John asked Pinocchio where he was going, the wooden boy answered. “I go to school to learn a lot of tricks to be a real boy and make my dad proud.”

Pinocchio’s response testified to the norm that any “real” member of society should seek formal education from the institutions available to them, as this validated their position as a social being.

At this point, John is using real and famous polarizing terms that seem to exist at the expense of each other. “Why the hell would you want to be real when you can be famous? John noticed and drew Pinocchio’s attention to acting as a platform to gain popularity.

A second case followed when Pinocchio arrived at school and asked Jiminy Cricket to come with him. Jiminy told his living puppet friend that he was unacceptable at school because he was a bug. He added: “They put me in the same basket as wasps, cockroaches and termites.”

The character Jiminy Cricket in the film (Image via IMDb)
The character Jiminy Cricket in the film (Image via IMDb)

This is where the movie posed an oxymoron after Jiminy complained about the gravel on the road and what they paid taxes for in earlier scenes.

This Disney remake has made for an exciting watch with enough to read between the lines.


Pinocchio is currently streaming on Disney+.


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