Analysis of Pinocchio

Summary Geppetto grieves for his son Carlo at his grave, while remembering their happy times together. A cricket appears and takes a liking to Carlo's pine tree. Geppetto carves a wooden puppet named Pinocchio, who comes to life and explores the world with reckless abandon. Pinocchio becomes entangled in the world of fascist propaganda and recognizes the importance of telling the truth. He runs away to join a carnival, where he is taken advantage of and enslaved. Pinocchio eventually discovers the truth and stands up to his oppressor. He reunites with Geppetto and other friends, but faces danger as they encounter a sea monster. Eventually, Pinocchio sacrifices himself to save Geppetto, but is brought back to life by the wishes of his loved ones.


Screenplay Story Analysis

Story Critique The overall story of this screenplay is a poignant and emotional journey of a father mourning the loss of his son and finding hope and redemption through the creation of Pinocchio. The flashbacks effectively showcase the bond between Geppetto and Carlo, and the scenes set in the village, church, and on the hill create a vivid sense of setting. The introduction of Count Volpe and the carnival adds a layer of conflict and danger to the story. The tensions between Pinocchio's desire for fame and Geppetto's concern for his safety are well portrayed. The scene in which Pinocchio confronts Death and learns about mortality is a powerful moment. The ending, with Pinocchio coming back to life and honoring the memories of Geppetto and Spazz, is heartwarming.
Suggestions: One suggestion to improve the screenplay would be to further develop the themes of loss and burden, as these are central to Geppetto's character arc. Exploring how Geppetto copes with his grief and finds solace in carving Pinocchio could provide more depth to his journey. Additionally, the character of Count Volpe could be further developed to enhance the conflict and raise the stakes. It would also be beneficial to tighten the structure of the story, as the screenplay seems to jump between different plot points and scenes without a clear narrative flow. Finally, while the whimsical and imaginative details in the scenes with Pinocchio in the town and church are effective, it would be helpful to have a stronger connection to the overall story and themes.

Note: This is the overall critique. For scene by scene critique click here

Characters in the screenplay, and their arcs:

Geppetto

Geppetto is an older, talented woodcarver who is consumed by grief after the loss of his son Carlo. Though kind-hearted, he often struggles to balance his emotions with his duty as a father figure to Pinocchio. He is loving and caring, but at times can be stern and disapproving.



Carlo

Carlo was Geppetto's son who passed away during the Great War. He was playful and curious, and loved spending time with his father. A playful and studious boy who loved listening to fairy tales, playing in the hill, reading books and helping his father carve marionettes. He had a deep emotional connection with his father and was loved the same way. A joyful and proud son who brings happiness to his father. Carlo is Geppetto's son and a bright and curious child who loves spending time with his father. He has a creative spirit and is excited to learn from his father's talent.



The Cricket

Sebastian J. Cricket is a novelist and raconteur, suspicious and protective of his property. He is a wise and reflective character that watches over Geppetto and Pinocchio, thinking deeply about father and son relationships, loss, and love. He serves as a voice of reason and tries to stop Pinocchio from running away. The Cricket is ultimately trapped under a glass by Pinocchio, leading him to become introspective and doubt his ability to guide others. However, with encouragement from Geppetto, he regains his confidence and wisdom to continue guiding and advising them.



Pinocchio

Pinocchio is an innocent, naive, and curious wooden puppet who is learning about the world around him. He struggles with obedience and desires to explore the world beyond his father's workshop. Despite being easily influenced, he has a strong bond with his father and friends.



Cricket

The Cricket is a small and wise insect who serves as a mentor and guide to Pinocchio, always trying to steer him towards becoming a good puppet. He is loyal, supportive, and clever, often serving as comic relief with his witty quips and reactions. Despite his sometimes pessimistic outlook, the Cricket cares deeply about Pinocchio and tries his best to guide him in the right direction.



Podestà

Podestà is a fascist leader who wields significant power in the town. He is a strict and authoritarian figure who prioritizes maintaining order over showing compassion. He is responsible for indoctrinating young boys under his care and sees Pinocchio as a valuable asset to the fascist regime. He is cruel and manipulative, training children to serve his ideology.



Candlewick

Candlewick is a multifaceted character who undergoes significant changes throughout the movie. At the beginning, he is introduced as a menacing and rebellious character who poses a potential threat to Pinocchio and Geppeto. He comes across as cocky, confident, and not afraid to break the rules. However, as the story progresses, the audience discovers that Candlewick is also capable of being a loyal friend and can be playful and mischievous. Later, viewers see Candlewick's softer side when he bonds with Pinocchio over their shared weirdness and vulnerability. In the final act, he transforms into a brave and rebellious fighter who stands up against the oppressive regime.



Spazzatura

Spazzatura is a wild monkey who provides comic relief throughout the movie. He starts off as a loyal companion to Pinocchio but is mistreated by Count Volpe. He is downtrodden but ultimately helps Pinocchio and shows a playful side. He also becomes conflicted about helping Pinocchio but ultimately decides to do so and sacrifices himself in the process. Spazzatura ultimately becomes a valuable ally for Pinocchio and Geppetto and is loyal to his friends.



Count Volpe

Count Volpe is a conniving, manipulative, and greedy puppet master who is willing to exploit Pinocchio's talents for his own success. He is a smooth-talker who delights in exerting power and control over others and has no regard for their well-being.



Character Arc Critique Suggestions
Geppetto Geppetto's character arc is defined by his journey from grief-stricken isolation to a renewed sense of purpose and acceptance. Initially consumed by his pain, Geppetto struggles to form a bond with Pinocchio. However, as he begins to teach Pinocchio the importance of honesty and morality, he slowly begins to let go of his pain and finds joy in being a father again. Though he still struggles with his emotions throughout the movie, he ultimately sacrifices himself to save Pinocchio and passes on a legacy of love and selflessness to his son. Overall, Geppetto's character arc is well-executed. He experiences believable emotional growth and his actions feel grounded in his established personality. However, there are moments where his behavior feels inconsistent, particularly in his interactions with Pinocchio. In some scenes, he is affectionate and patient, while in others he is distant and harsh. Additionally, his sacrifice at the end of the film feels somewhat rushed and underdeveloped.
To improve Geppetto's character arc, the filmmakers could focus on strengthening the consistency of his behavior towards Pinocchio throughout the film. Additionally, more focus could be placed on developing his relationship with Pinocchio outside of their conflict, so his sacrifice feels more earned and impactful. Finally, adding more scenes showcasing his emotional vulnerability and pain would help round out his character and make his growth more impactful.
Carlo Carlo begins the story as a playful and curious child who loves spending time with his father and helping him carve marionettes. However, when he passes away during the Great War, Geppetto is left heartbroken and filled with regret for not spending more time with him. Throughout the story, Geppetto creates a marionette that resembles Carlo and names him Pinocchio. As the story progresses, Pinocchio's adventures mirror Carlo's life and Geppetto sees him grow into the kind, brave, and selfless son that Carlo always was. By the end of the story, Geppetto is able to find closure and let go of his grief, realizing that Carlo will always live on in his heart. The character arc for Carlo is limited, as he doesn't experience any growth or development beyond his initial introduction. The story revolves around Geppetto's grief and journey, with Carlo only serving as a catalyst for Geppetto's character development.
To improve the character arc for Carlo, consider exploring his personality and traits further through flashbacks or dream sequences. Additionally, giving Carlo a more active role in the story, such as influencing Pinocchio's actions or communicating with Geppetto in a supernatural way, could add more depth to his character and make his impact on Geppetto more tangible.
The Cricket Throughout the movie, the Cricket experiences a journey from being suspicious and protective to becoming a wise and kind guide. He starts off as an intelligent but self-centered individual, but through his interactions with Geppetto and Pinocchio, he develops a deeper understanding of the importance of fatherhood and love. After being trapped under a glass and doubting his ability to guide others, he eventually regains his confidence and wisdom, becoming a source of encouragement for Geppetto and a trusted advisor to both Geppetto and Pinocchio. The Cricket's arc is well-developed and highlights the importance of learning from experiences and growing as a person. However, the arc could be enhanced by having more direct interactions with Pinocchio and exploring their relationship more deeply. Additionally, it would be helpful to see more clearly how the Cricket's journey impacts the main story of Geppetto and Pinocchio.
To improve the arc, more scenes between Pinocchio and the Cricket should be included to develop their relationship and provide more depth to the story. It may also be beneficial to show how the Cricket's guidance impacts Geppetto and Pinocchio's decisions and actions throughout the movie. Lastly, having the Cricket participate in more action and plot-driven scenes could help to keep the audience engaged and invested in his character.
Pinocchio Pinocchio's character arc is one of growth and maturity. He starts off as a mischievous and impulsive puppet who is easily distracted from his commitments. As he navigates through the dangers and trials of fascist Italy, he matures and becomes more selfless. He learns to value the people close to him and cares for them deeply. He eventually proves himself to be brave and selfless, willing to make sacrifices for his loved ones. By the end of the story, he has become a mature and responsible young man who has learned valuable lessons about life and love. Pinocchio's character arc is well-developed and engaging. However, his growth seems to occur rapidly and without much reflection. It would be beneficial to see more internal conflict and self-reflection as he matures and learns from his experiences. Additionally, his lying is a recurring issue that is not fully resolved in the story.
To improve Pinocchio's character arc, there could be more moments of introspection and reflection as he learns and grows. Also, it would be beneficial to address his lying more directly, perhaps by having him face the consequences of his actions. Overall, Pinocchio's character arc is well-crafted and engaging, but could benefit from more depth and nuance in his growth and development.
Cricket Cricket begins as a mediator and guide for Pinocchio, working towards his own personal goal of having his wish granted. As the story progresses, Cricket takes on a more supportive role and tries to convince Pinocchio to stay true to his promises and become a good puppet, even at the cost of his own wish. Although he faces setbacks and challenges, Cricket remains a loyal companion and successful mentor, guiding Pinocchio towards a better path and ultimately achieving his own personal peace in the end. The overall arc for Cricket is strong and consistent, providing a stable presence for Pinocchio throughout the story. However, it would be beneficial to see more of the Cricket's personal conflict or growth, aside from his desire to have his wish granted. This would add more depth to his character and further emphasize his selflessness towards Pinocchio.
To further enhance Cricket's character arc, consider exploring his backstory or personal motivations beyond his desire for a wish. This could include past experiences that have shaped his outlook on life, or personal values that he seeks to impart on Pinocchio. Additionally, providing more moments of vulnerability or self-reflection for the Cricket would allow for a more emotional payoff in the end, as he achieves his own personal peace.
Podestà Podestà's arc begins with his initial introduction as a fascist leader with significant power. He then becomes the primary antagonist, impersonal and focused solely on maintaining order. The climax of his arc occurs when he tries to convince Pinocchio to become a soldier for the fascist regime. However, Pinocchio ultimately rejects this offer and Podestà is left empty-handed, losing his power and influence. The character arc for Podestà is impactful, however, it could benefit from more detail and nuance. The arc is primarily driven by external events rather than internal conflicts or changes. This makes Podestà feel like a one-dimensional character who is only there to serve as a villain.
To improve Podestà's arc, it would be beneficial to explore his motivations and inner conflicts. Perhaps he is driven by a sense of duty towards his fascist ideology and genuinely believes his methods are the only way to maintain order. Alternatively, he could be struggling with a personal sense of doubt and insecurity, leading him to double down on his authoritarian ways. Adding these layers to his character would make the arc feel more impactful and meaningful.
Candlewick Candlewick's arc begins with him being a menacing and rebellious character who poses a potential threat to Pinocchio and Geppeto. He does not seem to care about anyone else's feelings or wellbeing and is solely focused on himself. However, after becoming friends with Pinocchio, his personality starts to change. Candlewick begins to bond with Pinocchio over their shared weirdness and vulnerability. By the middle of the movie, Candlewick matures into a more tactical and competitive person who is struggling with the disconnect between his father's beliefs about war and his own fears of dying. The climax of his arc takes place when he transforms into a brave and rebellious fighter who stands up against the oppressive regime. By the end of the movie, Candlewick has undergone significant changes and developed into a much more complete character than he was at the beginning of the movie. The character arc for Candlewick is generally well-executed and shows significant growth throughout the movie. However, there is an abrupt change from the middle of the arc to the climax, and it feels like there is an important moment missing that connects these two stages. Additionally, Candlewick's experiences with war could have been fleshed out more, and the audience could have been given more insight into his struggles. This would have created a more nuanced character and created a deeper emotional connection with the audience.
To improve Candlewick's character arc, it would be helpful to include a transitional scene that connects the middle of his arc to the climax. This would allow the audience to better understand why he suddenly transformed into a brave fighter. Additionally, more screen time could have been devoted to exploring Candlewick's experiences with war and the internal struggles he faced. This would have created a more sympathetic and complete character that the audience would have been more invested in.
Spazzatura Spazzatura's character arc starts off as a victim, mistreated by Count Volpe and serving as a loyal companion to Pinocchio. However, as the story progresses, he becomes more empowered and ultimately decides to help Pinocchio despite his conflicting loyalty to Volpe. He sacrifices himself in the process, showing bravery and selflessness. Spazzatura's arc highlights growth and the importance of choosing one's own values and loyalties rather than blindly following others. Overall, Spazzatura's arc is well-developed and provides depth to a comedic character. However, as a minor character, his development could have been further amplified and explored. Additionally, his motivations for switching sides are not entirely clear and could have been strengthened.
To improve Spazzatura's arc, his motivations and internal conflicts could be further developed and explored. Additionally, his comedic relief could be balanced with more serious moments to highlight the weight of his decisions. Further exploration of his backstory and how he became a henchman for Volpe could also add depth to his character.
Count Volpe Count Volpe's character arc begins with his desire to obtain Pinocchio for unknown reasons. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that he sees Pinocchio as a valuable asset to his show and will stop at nothing to obtain him. However, as Pinocchio begins to rebel against his control, Count Volpe becomes threatened by his success and tries to keep him under his thumb. In the end, his greed and desire for control lead to his downfall as he is ultimately defeated by Pinocchio and his friends. The character arc for Count Volpe is fairly predictable and lacks complexity. While his motivation for wanting Pinocchio is unclear at first, it becomes obvious that he is driven by greed and a desire for power. Additionally, his downfall feels rushed and lacks a sense of real consequence for his actions.
To improve Count Volpe's character arc, it would be beneficial to delve deeper into his backstory and explore his motivations in greater detail. Perhaps there is a tragic event in his past that drives him to seek control and power over others. Additionally, his downfall could be made more impactful by having him face real consequences for his actions, such as losing everything he has worked for or being arrested for his crimes.
Theme Theme Details Themee Explanation
Grief and LossGeppetto grieves the loss of his son Carlo in the war and builds Pinocchio in his memory. Throughout the story, Geppetto struggles with the burden of his grief and the memories of his son.One of the primary and most prominent themes in the screenplay is grief and loss. The story starts with Geppetto grieving the death of his son Carlo and continues to explore his journey of coping with the loss. Through his interactions with Pinocchio, Geppetto learns to come to terms with his grief and finds a way to honor the memory of his son.
Acceptance and TransformationGeppetto is initially horrified at the idea of a living puppet, but with the help of the cricket, he learns to accept Pinocchio into his life. Pinocchio also transforms throughout the story from a wooden puppet to a sentient being with complex emotions.Another important theme in the screenplay is acceptance and transformation. Geppetto's journey of accepting Pinocchio and learning to love him as his own son is a significant part of the story. Additionally, Pinocchio's transformation from a puppet to a sentient being capable of emotions and self-awareness is a significant aspect of the story.
War and its EffectsThe impact of war on Geppetto and Carlo's relationship is explored in flashbacks. Pinocchio's avoidance of war and his eventual discovery of the truth about it is an integral part of the story.The theme of war and its effects on the lives of people is another crucial aspect of the screenplay. The story explores the impact of war on Geppetto and Carlo's relationship and the struggles that children face when forced to participate in war. Pinocchio's avoidance of war and his eventual discovery of the truth about it is also an important part of the story. The screenplay highlights the horrors of war and the long-lasting effects it has on people's lives and relationships.
Identity and Self-DiscoveryPinocchio's journey of self-discovery as he navigates his way through the world, discovers the truth about himself, and finds his place in life.Identity and self-discovery are first evident when Pinocchio comes to life and has to figure out who he is. Pinocchio struggles with his identity and longs to be accepted as a real boy, which motivates much of his behavior. Through his journey, Pinocchio learns about who he is and discovers his place in the world.
Betrayal and DeceptionCount Volpe takes advantage of Pinocchio's naivety for his own gain. Pinocchio is deceived by Count Volpe and learns the hard way about the consequences of trusting the wrong people.Betrayal and deception are a recurring theme in the screenplay. Pinocchio is repeatedly deceived by others throughout the story, and this theme is used to emphasize the importance of trust and the potentially severe consequences of betrayal and deception.



Screenwriting Resources on Themes

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Studio Binder Movie Themes: Examples of Common Themes for Screenwriters
Coverfly Improving your Screenplay's theme
John August Writing from Theme

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Story, Plot, Genre, Theme - Screenwriting Basics Screenwriting basics - beginner video
What is theme Discussion on ways to layer theme into a screenplay.
Thematic Mistakes You're Making in Your Script Common Theme mistakes and Philosophical Conflicts
Goals and Philosophical Conflict
internal Goals Geppetto's internal goal in this script is to process and let go of his grief for his son, Carlo. Carlo's internal goal is to feel safe, loved, and secure. Pinocchio's internal goal is to be accepted and perceived as a real boy. Spazz's internal goal is to find a sense of belonging and purpose. The Cricket's internal goal is to survive and protect his home.
External Goals Geppetto's external goal is to secure his tools and get home safely. Pinocchio's external goal is to reunite with his father and find a sense of belonging. The protagonist's external goal is to continue living his life after the loss of his son. Count Volpe's external goal is to use Pinocchio for his puppet theater. Spazz's external goal is to find Pinocchio and bring him back to life. Geppetto's external goal is to find Pinocchio and protect him. The protagonist's external goal is to find his father and reunite with him. Pinocchio's external goal is to save his father and prove himself as a good son.
Philosophical Conflict The overarching philosophical conflict in this script is the tension between reality and fantasy, the power of love, the nature of existence, and the clash of societal norms and individual identity.


Character Development Contribution: The goals and conflict contribute to the character's development by challenging their beliefs, values, and desires. They go on a journey of self-discovery and growth, facing internal and external obstacles that shape their identity and understanding of the world.

Narrative Structure Contribution: The goals and conflict contribute to the narrative structure by providing a clear motivation and direction for the characters. They drive the plot forward and create tension and suspense. The evolving goals and conflicts create a sense of progression and development in the story.

Thematic Depth Contribution: The goals and conflict contribute to the thematic depth of the screenplay by exploring themes of loss, grief, acceptance, love, identity, freedom, and the power of storytelling. They raise philosophical questions and challenge societal norms, adding depth and complexity to the overall narrative.


Screenwriting Resources on Goals and Philosophical Conflict

Articles

Site Description
Creative Screenwriting How Important Is A Character’s Goal?
Studio Binder What is Conflict in a Story? A Quick Reminder of the Purpose of Conflict

YouTube Videos

Title Description
How I Build a Story's Philosophical Conflict How do you build philosophical conflict into your story? Where do you start? And how do you develop it into your characters and their external actions. Today I’m going to break this all down and make it fully clear in this episode.
Endings: The Good, the Bad, and the Insanely Great By Michael Arndt: I put this lecture together in 2006, when I started work at Pixar on Toy Story 3. It looks at how to write an "insanely great" ending, using Star Wars, The Graduate, and Little Miss Sunshine as examples. 90 minutes
Tips for Writing Effective Character Goals By Jessica Brody (Save the Cat!): Writing character goals is one of the most important jobs of any novelist. But are your character's goals...mushy?