Thursday, August 2, 2012

My First Movie Blogathon - Pinocchio and Aladdin

Welcome to the second day of the My First Movie Blogathon hosted at Forgotten Classics of Yesteryear! The Blogathon runs through August 4th so please check out the other entries!

The first movie I saw in theaters was the 1992 re-release of Pinocchio (1940), the second Walt Disney animated film. I was only three years old but still have vague memories of watching it in the theater with my family. The first "new" movie I saw in a theater was Aladdin which came out later that year. This was the first time I watched a movie with just myself and my Dad, a tradition we keep up to this day!

I was three years old around the time I saw these movies. While I don't remember anything about what I thought about Pinocchio at the time, I have seen it several times since and have always enjoyed it. I haven't watched Pinocchio recently but when watching the movie later it always struck about how dark it was. Sure we have the great songs "I've Got No Strings" and the Oscar winner for Best Song "When You Wish upon a Star," but we also have the evil puppet master Stromboli, kids who literally transform into "jackasses" then are sold to work in salt mines, and the giant whale Monstro who swallows Pinocchio!

I have stronger recollections from seeing Aladdin. One thing I specifically remember was laughing when the genie accidentally picks up Sebastian the crab from The Little Mermaid! I had already seen that movie at home before watching Aladdin so the joke was not lost on me. This must have been the first time I had ever encountered both reference jokes and meta humor which probably explains why I love those types of comedy to this day!

While my Dad also picked up on that reference, I noticed that he didn't giggle as much as I did. However, in another part of the movie I noticed that he was laughing hysterically and I didn't get the joke. I wouldn't fully understand it until years later, but my Dad loved the Genie's Jack Nicholson impression! While Aladdin is not unique in having some jokes for kids and other jokes for parents, I enjoy it when family films do this as it truly makes them for all age groups. Movies with humor for people of different ages tend to be even more watchable when you get older as you now get a joke you didn't understand earlier and can view the movie in a different light.

Disney films, such as Pinocchio and Aladdin, often have a high range of emotions and tones. We have ups and downs, funny moments, scary parts, musical numbers, and memorable characters of all types. Disney movies are the first movies a lot of young people watch, and therefore the formation and basis for their future film viewing. This sets up how they look at movies when they get older. Sure the villains will get more complex and there won't always be happy endings, but Disney films are the blueprint for getting used to watching feature films and certainly a big step up from most Saturday morning cartoons. And as was the case for me, Disney films can be a great early theater experience! Even with today's world of giant flat screen TVs and home theaters, nothing beats watching a film in the cinema on the big screen and hearing the reaction of the audience to the movie. This is something I learned at a young age thanks to both Pinocchio and Aladdin.

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of the My First Movie Blogathon.
This is the fifth blogathon I've participated in, and hopefully there will be many more to come!


  1. Great idea for a write up. Got to admit I've never seen Pinocchio or Aladdin (at least all the way through). My family was never much into Disney!

    My first films were Ghostbusters II and Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Both scared the hell out of me.

  2. Hi Jack,
    I didn't come up with the topic but is was a great idea for a blogathon! Pinocchio and Aladdin are worth watching (along with some other Disney films) if you ever get the chance.
    I actually haven't seen either of those movies yet but thanks for sharing! I don't remember what the first live action movie I saw in theaters was but for some reason remember that the first PG-13 movie I saw was Seven Years in Tibet!

  3. RVChris, I enjoyed reading your memories of both "Pinocchio" and "Aladdin", the first I have seen and the second I've never watched. I agree with you that most of the darker aspects of "Pinocchio" were lost, perhaps my child's mind protecting me from the implications. I do remember being anxious over a ride at Disneyland that began with a canal boat floating through the mouth of the whale. The first Disney film I watched was "Lady and the Tramp"; my brother and I acted out the spaghetti scene, which made for much friendly memories.

  4. Thanks whistlingypsy! Pinocchio is pretty dark in retrospect though I somehow didn't realize it as a kid. And Lady and the Tramp was another favorite of mine when I was young!

  5. I didn't see Pinocchio until I was 35 and the transformation scene still gave me a case of the drizzles. It always amazes me the amount of nightmare fuel Disney put into their product -- and their old nature documentaries and shorts are even worse on the old childhood trauma scale (circle of life and all that), but I honestly kind of respect them for this at the same time for not playing it safe.

    Nice job.

  6. Thanks W.B. Kelso! I agree a lot of the old Disney films can be pretty dark at times, especially upon looking back at them. I do also admire them for doing this, and it does make them watchable for all ages as opposed to making movies only meant for young children.

  7. I also saw this as a kid, but in '92 I would have been 15. I'm betting I saw a release in the 80s at some point, since Disney cycles the hits back into theaters every seven years or so. Nice post.

  8. Thanks for the comment Alan! Pinocchio was also re-released in 1984 so I'm guessing that is when you saw it in theaters. Also I love your avatar, Archer is an awesome show!

  9. Ha! Very nice entry! Some of my earliest memories are of Disney animated films. ALADDIN was one of my favorites!

  10. Thanks Nate! I love Aladdin and it holds up well on multiple viewings. Gotta love Robin Williams as the genie!

  11. "Pinocchio" in the theaters right before "Aladdin," don't remember that. Must've been one of the last remnants of Disney's old 7 year cycle where the animated films were released theatrically every 7 years. When they started releasing the films on VHS, that brought about the end of that. I remember they tried it with "The Little Mermaid," but everyone had the it hasn't really been done since.

    Welcome to the LAMB!

  12. Hi,
    You are correct that the June 1992 re-release of Pinocchio (which was also digitally restored) was when they were putting the Disney films back in theaters every 7-10 years. Good point about the increasing home video market being the reason they stopped doing it. Though occasionally it still happens like with The Lion King in 3-D not too long ago.
    Thanks for the comment, I'm glad to be a part of the LAMB! :)

  13. That Pinocchio film is scary as hell. The ride at Disneyland is also a ride of terror. lol

    My main reason for stopping by was to check out your blog as I saw you had recently joined the LAMB. So welcome aboard and I hope to see you on the forums.

  14. Thanks for the comment and welcome 3guys! I'm busy at the moment but hope to get the LAMB forums and participate soon!