Okay, see, here’s how you get cash-conscious consumers to climb aboard a new, more expensive technology bandwagon: You release lovingly curated, value-stuffed titles like Disney’s recent string of “platinum edition” Blu-ray/DVD combo packs. It helps, of course, that Disney is forever taking its classic titles out of print for years at a time, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this 70th anniversary reissue of Pinocchio is well worth the $25 it’ll cost you through Amazon. (If you don’t own a Blu-ray player, and don’t think you’ll be buying one in the next 5-10 years, Pinocchio is also being released as a two-DVD set, with the same bonus features.)
As with last year’s Platinum Edition reissue of Sleeping Beauty, the freshly scrubbed Pinocchio is truly a sight to behold. Disney sent its crew all the way back to the original negatives and removed every speck of dust, every scratch, every speck; the lines are darker and cleaner, and the colors are brighter. You’ll probably come away disappointed if you expect a visual upgrade on the order of Sleeping Beauty, but then again, if you expect that, you’re being unreasonable; the film in question is nearly seven decades old. They’ve also gone back to the original soundtrack and given it a cleanup — it’s offered here in two versions, both in 7.1 “lossless” stereo and Dolby mono. (They both sound great, but Pinocchio is obviously not the first film you want to pull out to put your home theater system through its paces.)
Seeing as how you it isn’t unlikely that you already own Pinocchio in some form, this reissue’s chief appeal may lie in its extras, and they are legion. There are a number of BD-Live features, none of which will really sell the package, but they’re just a tiny fraction of what you can do with the film; the new bonus material includes things like the “Disney View,” which allows you to insert paintings by artist Toby Bluth into the widescreen bars above and below the film, and “Cine-Explore,” which lets you watch the movie with Picture-in-Picture commentary from Leonard Kaufman, J.B. Kaufman, and Eric Goldberg, along with glimpses at behind-the-scenes stuff like sketches, character designs, and interviews with the original film’s crew.
And that’s just the first disc. The second includes games, deleted scenes, an alternate ending, multiple documentaries, more behind-the-scenes footage, more production art, and theatrical trailers. And then there’s the DVD disc, which strips out most of the extras (leaving only a video for Meaghan Jette Martin’s version of “When You Wish Upon a Star,” which is every bit as inessential as you’d imagine) but provides a smart bit of cheap, easy incentive for DVD customers who are on the fence about making the leap to Blu-ray. Disney’s certainly guilty of raiding the vaults at the slightest provocation, but the Platinum Edition line presents the ideal marriage of great content and new technology. If you’re a fan of the studio’s classic films, you won’t want to let them pass you by.