article & photos by Meaghan Alfonso for ArtsEarth
Pinocchio, one of my favorite Disney classics of all time, gets its shine at the Walt Disney Family Museum in the Presidio of San Francisco. Based on the Italian children’s novel, the Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the exhibit pays homage to Disney’s masterpiece.
If you haven’t seen the film, you aren’t a Disney fan—and who isn’t a Disney fan? In other words, go watch it! Your childhood is calling for you: to be mesmerized by the movements of every character, to be hypnotized by the voice of Jiminy Cricket’s magical wish, and to laugh and cry at the failures of Pinocchio’s choices as a real boy. But, if you haven’t watched one of Disney’s all time classics, the Pinocchio exhibit is still a must see! (Even for grown-ups.)
Walking into the exhibit, it made me wish that I was alive during the time that traditional animation started. Even though traditional animation is a load of work, the skills it takes for every frame to be hand painted is just amazing. As a painter myself, creating a story within a background, for example, takes much time and brainstorming. I love this exhibit, because not only do they show concept art, they show the steps of the animation process too. They show the character designs, they show the shot lists, and they also show you a few pencil tests. Animated by one of Disney’s Nine Old Men (Milt Kahl), one of Pinocchio’s pencil tests are shown in an installation where the pages are digitally flipped for you. They also have special little flipbooks that you can flip yourself, which are copies of some of the pencil tests in the film.
It is just remarkable to see all of the animators’ work on this film, and then to see the end result. Audio and clips of the film are all around the exhibit, to give you a feel of the movie. You are basking in an ambiance of animation! It’s so incredible just to look at original design work that the artists’ created. It’s crazy to think how much animation has evolved during the years, and how much we take for granted the technology that is used today. As one of Disney’s greatest achievements, Pinocchio still remains one of the greatest 2D animated films.