Hewing much closer than many other adaptations have to the original adventures of Carlo Collodi’s mischievous log-headed lad, Italian helmer Enzo D’Alo’s animated version of “Pinocchio” reps a pleasant if hardly awe-inspiring take on the material. Pic’s mix of visual textures may seem a bit jarring for cartoon purists, but the lurid palette will get the attention of small children, though some will be freaked out by the story’s many dark moments. “Pinocchio” will dance nimbly around Italian venues, and with even greater ability in ancillary in its several co-producing territories, but will find strings attached further afield.
D’Alo and Umberto Marino’s script takes only a few liberties with the basic picaresque plot. Woodcarver Geppetto (voiced in Italian by Mino Caprio) fashions a little boy for himself (Gabriele Caprio) and finds the scamp has an innate talent for trouble. The fox (Maricla Affatato) and the cat (Maurizio Micheli) duly dupe the hero out of his money, boys are turned into donkeys (the best sequence by a mile), but it all ends well. Songs by Lucio Dalla will grate on non-Italians but could easily be fixed for other versions.