Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.

Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

St. Petersburg Times Online

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Movie review

'Pinocchio' becomes a disaster movie

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Read Billy's movie reviews on his special archive page.

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 6, 2003


  • Rating: G

Summary: The classic story of Pinocchio, based on the novel by Carlo Collodi, is retold in live action format. Pinocchio (Roberto Benigni, voice of Breckin Meyer) is a puppet crafted in wood by a man named Geppetto (Carlo Giuffre). Pinocchio is a perpetually mischievous boy. After being separated from Geppetto, Pinocchio goes on a treacherous journey to find him. During that journey, he meets the Blue Fairy, who promises to turn him into a "real" boy if he can change his naughty ways for good.

Pinocchio gets bussed
[Photo: Miramax]
Pinocchio (Roberto Benigni) gets a kiss from the Blue Fairy (Nicoletta Braschi) in Pinocchio.
My View: You know that old saying, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it?" Well, this is a prime example of that. This is a preposterous rendition of a classic story. It is an Italian film with English voices dubbed in, which makes it really peculiar to watch. All the characters are played by adults -- even the children and the dog. It's disturbing to watch a 50-year-old man gleefully hopping around as if he were a puppet and to see an elderly gentleman in a French poodle wig carry around a stuffed animal in his mouth for the length of the film. Young kids had their eyes fixed on the screen for about an hour, but then they began to get restless and antsy, as did I. This film is strange in a creepy sort of way, and it is laughably horrible. This is a torturous 108 minutes.

Recommendations: I don't see any reason to subject a child or adult to this cinematic disaster.

Grade: F

-- Billy Norris, 15, is in the ninth grade at Seminole High School, and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

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