With Geppetto, Disney takes a different, live-action spin on the Pinocchio story it immortalized in animation in 1940. Yes, there's still the wooden boy with the nose that grows when he tells a lie, but here there are no singing insects (and only a bit of whale), and the focus is on the toymaker, not the toy. Geppetto (Drew Carey) delights all the kids in town with his creations, but he longs for a son of his own. Enter the Blue Fairy (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), who turns Geppetto's puppet (Seth Adkins) into a living, breathing (albeit wooden) boy, but the thrill soon wears off when Geppetto learns that being a parent is harder than he thought.
Carey gives a winning performance as the struggling yet loving father, while Louis-Dreyfus is an attractive (though a bit too toothy) fairy, and both prove themselves solid singers. To create a new sound palette for this 2000 television production, Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, The Prince of Egypt) wrote eight appealing songs, ranging from the tender lament "Empty Heart" to the bouncy duet "Just Because It's Magic" to the bravura aria "Bravo, Stromboli," sung by Brent Spiner (best known as Star Trek: The Next Generation's Data but also a veteran of Broadway musicals). A good supporting cast and decent if somewhat modest special effects
help make this an enjoyable family musical
for ages 5 and older.