• perni28 April 2004
    Still holds up even by my present jaded standards...
    I think that when all of us were kids we had one or two movies that we loved so much that we sat down and watched them dozens of times. For me one of those movies was Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night, which is definitely a lesser known animated feature but all the same still holds up today. After ordering a copy from Amazon.com and watching it again all these years later, I was pleasantly surprised that Emperor entertained me even at my usually cynical age.

    Sure, you could nitpick that the animation is inconsistent, with some scenes appearing less detailed while others are excessively so, and that certain backgrounds are obviously repeated during chase scenes ala The Flintstones (it's even more pronounced here due to the visible line in the visuals), but frankly those didn't hamper my enjoyment of the film. The animation is usually quite vibrant and expressive, and the story takes the usual Pinocchio antics in a different direction by providing an actual villain in the uber-creepy Emperor (voiced by that staple of movie villains, James Earl Jones). In fact, much of the movie is downright dark, from the opening sequence where a demented carnival seems to set itself up to Pinocchio's transformation back into a puppet. I'm not saying any of this will scare kids today, as they've probably seen much worse, but it does give a good balance to the otherwise cheerful imagery.

    I can't get through this review without mentioning the handful of songs which are peppered throughout Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night. I can't get enough of "Love Is The Light Inside Your Heart," which is just a beautiful little pop ballad that I can't get out of my head because it's so memorable. True, the Fairy Godmother may sound like she's doped up during her speaking lines, but the song is great. "Neon Cabaret" is more of a background song than "Love," but it still has a nice little jazz beat that goes well with its scene, a night club where children basically throw back green alcohol (come on ya know it was alcohol) and go nuts. Finally there's "Your A Star," which while not a phenomenal song once again fits with the visuals of the sequence. Like I said before, much of the visuals of the movie are extremely well done and give the movie a vintage '80s feel I couldn't help but like.

    Now this is coming from a guy who's reviewed countless animated movie, but I think it's safe to say that young kids could still get a kick out of this movie. It's got everything the modern animated flicks have, but without the crass marketing. And the sidekicks aren't half as tiresome or irritating, with the only ones being a glow worm voiced by Don Knotts and a bee named Grumblebee. Some sections of the film may seem like filler, like the scene involving a toad and a city of insects which lasts a bit too long, but other than that I give Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night an enthusiastic recommendation. 3/4 stars
  • sshumsuper7fan7812 March 2003
    An ambitious little animated film
    Don't be put off by those who would label this little gem a Disney ripoff. In a time when very few animated features were being produced, Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night is a surprisingly nice little animated film. From the opening moments, you can see that this was intended to be something special. There is some great animation, such as the ending on the Emperor of the Night's ship. There are some dark, genuinely frightening moments such as James Earl Jones as the titular Emperor and his macabre carnival, or a scene which has Pinocchio transformed back into a lifeless puppet. There are comical moments with Gee Willikers the wooden glowbug and Grumblebee. There are also bizarre, surreal scenes, notably a sequence where Pinocchio is tempted in a dream-like land by the Emperor and his minions. The song in this scene, "The Neon Cabaret", is jazzy and upbeat, and it enhances strange mood. Don Knotts, James Earl Jones, Ed Asner, and Jonathan Harris all give wonderful voice performances to their respective characters. Rickie Lee Jones as the Fairy Godmother tends to grate though.

    The overall impression is that of a very ambitious production. The film moves along at a good pace and boils to a great climactic finish. Definitely worth a look!
  • La Gremlin1 September 2001
    6/10
    Remember kids! Just say "NO!" to selling your soul!
    If I'm not mistaken, I think it's just about my one-year anniversary here at IMDB. Now I'm sure my raging fans (all two of you) are well aware that I can't get enough of weird cartoons. I happened to run into "Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night" in the bargain bin of a thrift store recently, bought it remembering only that I had rented it several times as a kid, and came away concluding that it's going to take one heck of a cartoon to beat this one!

    This movie is crazy. It's like somebody wanted to do an animated film of _Faust_, got bored with it, and decided for the heck of it to throw Pinocchio and Gepetto in it (other characters from the _Pinocchio_ story show up in poor disguises). Pinocchio's adventure leads him from an evil carnival to a freakish neon Hell populated by small children and lastly to the domain of a quadrimanous Satan. Along the way, he has run-ins with a wooden insect, a monkey who is eerily prescient of JarJar Binks down to the last stupid big tooth, and a pretty girl puppet owned by Satan's minion. This last character (the puppet, not the minion) is the focus of a crush from Pinocchio, and I guess this is supposed to be romantic but it comes across as very creepy. (I mean, he's a real boy lusting over a *doll* people; look at the looks he's giving her!)

    This is a very trippy movie. On that level, it isn't half bad. I actually rather enjoyed it.
  • nighthawk774 July 2002
    Saw this movie as a kid
    I saw this movie when I was about 10 or so and I absolutely loved it. The animation was fantastic and I actually thought it was better than the Disney movie. The story was very involved, but not too hard for a kid to follow. I hope to find this movie on DVD.
  • KingRandor828 April 2002
    Filmation went out with a BANG on this one!
    This film will go down as one of my all-time favorites. Filmation wasn't known for phenomenal animation, but after watching the Masters of the Universe series again, I wasn't expecting too much from them on THIS one- I was COMPLETELY blown away! The animation is PHENOMENAL, coming from Filmation. The Emperor looks awesome, and the music scores are EXCELLENT. In my opinion, this film never received the marketing blitz it truly deserved. Personally, I like THIS film better than DISNEY'S Pinocchio, and this film is actually not a continuation of the DISNEY film, but of the Adventures of Pinocchio animated series. Every time I see this film, I love it even more. A real winner in my book! :)
  • TheLittleSongbird1 February 2010
    10/10
    Wonderful underrated gem
    I grew up watching the Disney film, and also love the book by Carlo Collodi. This is a wonderful underrated gem from 1987, that is a lot of fun. If I had to decide which is better, Disney's "Pinocchio" or "Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night", the Disney film but only marginally.

    For one thing, the animation is very impressive. The backgrounds are surprisingly detailed and the character movements are convincing. The animation on the Emperor of the Night is absolutely brilliant. Also, the songs are fun and memorable. "Love is the Light Inside Your Heart" is not only haunting but a genuine tearjerker. "Neon Cabaret", while more a background song is also great, while "You're a Star" is wonderfully upbeat.

    Other advantages are an engaging, dark and heartwarming story that keeps to the spirit of the book, a strong script and good characters, including the hilarious Igor and Puppetino(the part when he turns Pinocchio into a puppet was quite frightening). Pinocchio is engaging enough, and the Emperor of the Night while very intense is a great villain. Oh and the Good Fairy is gorgeous.

    The voice acting is top notch, you don't hear much of James Earl Jones but once again he does an awesome job as the voice of the Emperor of the Night. Tom Bosley is surprisingly good as Geopetto, while William Windom is unrecognisable as Puppetino. Also Frank Welker deserves credit for his hysterical performance as Igor. In conclusion, this is wonderful and something quite special. 10/10 Bethany Cox
  • Darth-Helmet22 March 2007
    10/10
    A fantastic underrated 80's animated gem!
    A creepy mysterious carnival comes to town, Pinocchio (voiced by Scott Grimes) has just celebrated his first birthday as a human has been given a special assignment from his dad Gheppeto (voiced by Tom Bosley) to return an important jewel box back to the mayor and has been granted the power of freedom from his Fairy Godmother (voiced by Rickie Lee Jones) as he must be responsible for it or else he'll end up a puppet again. He gets swindled by a scandalous Raccoon named Scalawag (voiced by Ed Asner) and his monkey assistant Igor (voiced by Frank Welker) for a worthless fake ruby, it upsets his dad so much that he decides to run away to join the carnival for he falls for the hypnotic singing of a beautiful female puppet named Twinkle (voiced by Lana Beeson) over there and is tricked by the evil Puppetino (voiced by William Windon) as he is magically changed back into a puppet. However, Pinocchio does escape as he looks for the two scumbags that swindled him for they go after the traveling carnival to get the box back and end up in the nightmarish Las Vegas-esquire hellish realm of the empire of the night ruled by the evil Emperor (Voiced by James Earl Jones).

    Co-starring the voices of Jonathan Harris and Don Knotts, this is a highly underrated and hugely entertaining animated fantasy from Filmation (The studios behind "He-Man", "Fat Albert", "Star Trek Animated" and "She-Ra") for i believe this is their best movie besides "Starchaser: Legend of Orin" and "The Secret of the Sword". The film does have a few good songs such as the haunting "Love is the light inside your heart" by Rickie Lee Jones, the upbeat "Neon Carbret" and finally the most fun song of all "You're a Star".

    I remembered back in 1987 when i was 5 on Christmas night when i lived in St. Louis, my mom took me to see this movie at a shopping mall theater and it sure scared the crap out of me. But now i love it for it's one of my favorite animated movies ever! the animation is just breathtaking here considering it's an improvement over any Filmation animated effort and the film really gets dark with such moments like the absolutely horrifying sequence where Pinocchio changes back into a puppet as he's surrounded by puppets for it will scare the hell out of kids considering it almost escape the "PG" rating plus the Emperor himself is quite an awesome villain here.

    If you love animation and good fantasy stories then this is a must see! it's a rare forgotten 80's animated diamond in the rough.

    Also recommended: "The Black Cauldron", "Rock & Rule", "Fire & Ice", "Wizards", "The Dark Crystal", "Aladdin", "Big Trouble in Little China", "The Phantom Tollbooth", "Transformers: The Movie", "The Wizard of Oz", "Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs", "The Great Mouse Detective", "Sleepy Hollow", "The Corpse Bride", "Willy Wonka and The Chocholate Factory", "Return to Oz", "Oliver & Company", "The Little Mermaid", "The Last Unicorn", "The Secret of NIMH", "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory", "Mulan", "Spirited Away", "Making Contact (a.k.a. Joey)".
  • oliver simpson15 November 2007
    10/10
    a masterpiece in its own rights
    Warning: Spoilers
    i love this film the songs in it are brilliant it is very dark at times i.e. the part where Pinocchio turns back into a puppet puppetino is very creepy in this scene with that laugh of his and the part the land where dreams come true where the emperor of the night is superb (with James earl Jones voicing him) these scenes are what i always remember about the film but what the film is trying to tell us is that we should never take the freedom we have for granted or else we might lose it and become mere puppets like the ones in the film the animation might not be pixar class but they were good for its time and like i said i believe that this film is a masterpiece in its own right and not a Disney rip off
  • xoid2421 February 2003
    6/10
    A movie for the kids...
    I watched this movie when I was little (can't remember exactly how old I was), and I just recently got hold of a copy and thought I'd watch it again (brings back memories, ya know).

    It's supposed to be a sequel to Disney's Pinocchio. The characters are similar to the ones in the Disney movie - all except for the Emperor of the Night (I don't know where they got him from). He seemed a little bit too much to throw into this story (and he might be a little too scary for the really young ones). I mean, what kind of demonic overlord would want anything to do with an has-been puppet? (The story tries to explain this, but doesn't do a very good job.) Anyway, the kids will probably enjoy it, so rent it for them if you get the chance (if there's nothing better to get, that is).
  • geocraftsman24 May 2014
    9/10
    Colorful, scary, fun!
    Warning: Spoilers
    Pinocchio and the emperor of the night is a film I am sure would have repelled more 4-year olds than draw them in with its horrifying imagery for a G rating. But as a film for anyone over 9 years old, I think it is a movie that holds up very well, and is often forgotten. I think it even trumps the Disney film! But why? Well, here we go! This was made by filmation, who also created He-man and all the Archiecomics cartoons. The animation is stunning and you can tell a lot of effort was put into it. The characters are believable and fun to watch. Especially the main villain, the emperor of the night, which has that whole Shiva thing going on with more than two arms. This movie is an alternate time line to the original fairytale, in which the event where the blue fairy changed pinocchio happened, but nothing else. At least I think it is. Everyone else I run into thinks it is a direct sequel, but I personally think it has to be an alternate time line, but the film doesn't explain very well, mystifying most people. However, the songs are mostly bland and forgettable. They are okay at best, except for the blue fairy song, which is horrendous. But, this movie has great voice acting and a very ambient and well- defined tone to it. It has great action, and can be suspenseful and fun, especially near the end when Pinocchio and the emperor of the night are battling over buying Pinocchio's soul. The character designs are really cool. I especially love Pinocchio and Gee willikers, the movie's replacement of Jimminy cricket. I also liked their design of the blue fairy over the one from the Disney version. This is a very well done movie with plenty of good things going for it. I recommend to check it out if you are deep into obscure animated movies with an edge that time forgot.
  • The_Film_Cricket30 April 2014
    A little wooden
    Warning: Spoilers
    With 'The Little Mermaid' and 'Beauty and the Beast' Disney effectively kicked off the animation horse race that brought animated features out of the kiddie show doldrums. With that, lazy unimaginative studios like Filmation could no longer exist. There is justice in this world.

    You know Filmation, it's that studio that created all those tedious Saturday morning cartoons and managed to carry their Tarzan series for three seasons without creating a single new animated cell. Filmation's usual technique was to loop the same shots over and over and over and just change the dialogue. Their only memorable product was Fat Albert but that was because it had Bill Cosby behind it. Filmation was as welcome as flypaper spinning television shows into worthless cartoon shows like M*U*S*H (which was M*A*S*H with dogs) and Gilligan's Planet (with the castaways traveling through space). Yeah, I know Their last gasp for some kind of relief was 'Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night', an unbelievable animated toiletbrush which again sponges off someone else's success. In this case it's a sequel to Disney's Pinocchio, trying to continue the story even though there is no story to continue.

    It has been a year since Pinocchio has gotten his RB status and as the 'story' opens he is sent on a simple errand to deliver a jewel box and becomes fodder for a scheming raccoon. It's not that difficult for the raccoon to filch the box since Pinocchio insists on walking down the street with it held out in his hands but never mind. Shamed that he could have been such a moron, he runs away to the carnival and runs into a puppet master named Puppetino (don't ask) and we find out that the carnival is really a front for his schemes and scams and believe me you see all this coming from the moment Pinocchio steps out the Geppetto's front door. ovals. Along the way we meet other characters one just as innocuous as the last with names like Grumblebee and Gee Willikers and we meet the Emperor who is cross between Cherborg from Fantasia and that floating wizard head from 'The Wizard of Oz'. There are songs in the movie stitched together I think from cereal commericals, Christian rock albums and those tapes they make with music to put babies to sleep (it worked on me anyway). The prime top 40 wannabe here is 'Love Is the Light Inside Your Heart', a title so unmemorable that I had to look that title up for this review and check it twice as I was writing it down.

    I don't mean to beat a dead horse but I would have thought that Filmation would have learned it's lesson after it's execrable Snow White sequel 'Happily Ever After'. 'Pinocchio and the Emperor of the Night', I swear could be chopped into three minute bits and injected into toy and cereal commercials and I guarantee that you would never know the difference.
  • liberty_mks26 August 2011
    9/10
    Worth looking For
    Warning: Spoilers
    With only a small bit of the plot in my memory I tracked this video down and purchased it and it was worth looking for.

    This may not be big budget and it may not be well known but it has a really cute story line.

    It is important to note that this film may be too scary for young kids. Make sure you know what will scare your child. You may want to watch this before you let your kids see it.

    This movie if full of color and fun songs. The characters are funny. Two bandit thieves trick Pinocchio out of a special gem and he has to go to the Carnival to get it back. The evil Emperor of the night it out to get Pinocchio's free will to destroy the good fairy. Overall it's worth at least giving it a chance. Don't miss great videos just because they aren't blockbusters.

    If you enjoyed this look for Gallavants Happily Ever After (the continuation of Snow White) Little Nemo Adventures in Slumberland
  • John Bartus12 March 2011
    7/10
    Odd Pinocchio Sequel but good
    Warning: Spoilers
    a good Pinocchio sequel although the new characters are quite different but cool i guess i have this one on video the whole movie was pretty good and had some scary moments for example the "Scary Transformation Sequence'' that was really wrong but anyway the whole movie was OK for a sequel and plus this movie has new characters like Lt. Grumblebee, Puppetino, The Emperor of the Night, Scalawag, Igor, Twinkle, and Gee Wilikers. i like the new people it fits good for a sequel. so the movie starts as Pinocchio has been a real boy for one whole year and is celebrating his first human birthday but things go wrong when a carnival comes to town and two bums trade Pinocchio's jewel box for a pharaoh's ruby and the plot darkens when he returns home and his father is upset when he finds out Pinocchio traded something for something fake and grounds him for that and Pinocchio believes he was too untrusted to be his real father and runs away from home and ends up at the carnival looking for a job and he goes sees twinkle's performance of "Do what makes you Happy'' after that's done, Puppetino comes out and lures Pinocchio backstage and tells him what it takes to be a performer he shyly admits it and knows what is really going on after seeing his hand and that's when it starts the scary transformation sequence and Pinocchio starts to dance uncontrollably against his will and Puppetino reattaches strings to him Legs and Feet Pinocchio does try to escape however and he gets pulled back to his will and Pinocchio says "i didn't know that i *click* *click*'' and Puppetino swings him around not to mention scary puppet faces in the background and twinkle's face turning sad and Pinocchio has been completely changed back into a puppet and is now the carnival's "only'' attraction. now that's something you should not see in a cartoon.
  • gizmomogwai12 April 2008
    6/10
    The most disturbing animated film, why?
    Warning: Spoilers
    I never heard of this movie as a kid, but I recently heard a few people naming it as the most disturbing/upsetting children's film/cartoon they've seen. I actually didn't like Disney's Pinocchio (along with ET, it's one of the classics I can't get into), but I decided to watch the Emperor of the Night movie on-line. As a person who never liked the original Pinocchio, it's probably to this movie's credit that I think it's not bad. But I don't think it's the most disturbing children's film or cartoon. I think most children could handle it. It's just that the villain, voiced by James Earl Jones, may be a little scary. He's sort of a demon, but the Wizard of Oz, Wicked Witch and numerous Disney villains have the same effect. Moreover, James Earl Jones' character doesn't show up until pretty late in the film, and everything up to that point is tame.

    It's been a year since Pinocchio became a real boy and he's warned by his fairy godmother that he could become a puppet again if he takes his "freedom for granted." Pinocchio eventually finds himself at a carnival where he falls in love with a girl puppet, and is transformed back into a puppet himself. He eventually enters this strange world (the Empire of the Night) where he meets the villain and finds out his freedom of choice is still powerful. Teaching values of freedom and choice should be important. Generally, this movie's not bad.
  • JTurner8224 August 2007
    5/10
    Average stuff on its own, but no match for the now famous Disney classic.
    Warning: Spoilers
    Produced at a time when animation was in a serious slump, this rather curious feature, produced by Filmation Studios, attempts to make a sequel out of a now famous fairy tale, Carlo Collidi's PINOCCHIO. Walt Disney had made the story popular in his lavishly animated and emotionally powerful motion picture, and to this day it remains a masterpiece. Based on that, there is no way that this 1987 continuation could ever compare. Regrettably, the artistry in this movie doesn't live up to the original either. For a production made by 400 animators in three years at a cost of $8 million, PINOCCHIO AND THE EMPEROR OF THE NIGHT looks pretty shabby, no better than an average Saturday morning cartoon.

    There are also many instances where this movie attempts to steal thunder from the legendary Disney masterpiece, too. In place of Jiminy Cricket, we have a wooden-carved glowbug named Gee Willickers (voice of Don Knotts); a con artist raccoon named Scalawag (Ed Asner) and his pet monkey Igor (Frank Welker) in place of Honest John and Gideon (these characters shift into true allies in the movie); standing in for Lampwick is a pretty blonde named Twinkle (Lana Beeson) who serves as a sort of love interest for our hero. Finally, in the roles of the nasty puppeteer and nasty Coachman we have the shady-looking Puppetino as well as the titular villain, a sort of titanic, nightmarish robed demon with multiple arms and the booming tones of James Earl Jones. Unfortunately, these stand-ins could never hope to hold a candle to their predecessors or emerge as particularly memorable creations on their own. There's even a half-man half bumblebee who attempts to provide comic relief, but comes across as nothing more than a "buzzing" nuisance.

    Set one year after Pinocchio has become a real boy, this second chapter begins when a scary looking carnival comes into town. Our not so wooden hero runs away to the carnival after bungling a special errand for his father, Geppetto (he had been conned into giving up a precious jeweled box to Scalawag and Igor). In a rather frightening sequence -- one of the few that actually emerges as truly effective -- Pinocchio is transformed into a puppet again after being seduced to the carnival by the mustache-twirling Puppetino. Rather predictably, the Fairy Godmother (lamely voiced by Billie Lee Jones) rescues him, and the usual adventures ensue which lead up to the obligatory final showdown with the main villain.

    In addition to providing a rather uninspired plot, PINOCCHIO AND THE EMPEROR OF THE NIGHT unwisely also recycles concepts from the first movie; Pinocchio lies to his Fairy Godmother again and his nose grows, Geppetto sets off to find his missing boy, Pinocchio is still gullible enough to trust ne'er-do-wells Scalawag and Igor after they deceive him one time, and everybody ends up at an amusement park where naughty boys can do whatever they please. All are routinely and lifelessly presented, although the latter sequence is trippy and creepy enough to stand on its own; Pinocchio gets drunk in this scene, too. The scene where Pinocchio dances and sings with glittery showgirls is also pretty schizophrenic, but again, it brings up reminders about a similar and more believably executed scene from Disney's film. The movie is also handicapped with a rather dreary synthesizer-driven soundtrack and unmemorable songs; the Fairy Godmother's song is acknowledgingly nice, but nowhere near the same caliber of "When You Wish Upon A Star." Furthermore, of the vocal performances, only Scott Grimes as Pinocchio himself stands out, but a majority of the remaining cast are pretty much run of the mill (as mentioned, the Fairy Godmother is the worst offender--sounding totally lifeless and boring throughout). Even James Earl Jones, awesome a voice though he may have, doesn't have much to do with his scanty role of the Emperor of the Night.

    Taken on its own, this PINOCCHIO sequel is passable fare, although some sequences do come across as too frightening for youngsters (particularly the appearance of the central villain), and others ineptly silly for grown-ups. There are some creepy sequences and moments of genuine terror, but all in all, children and parents aren't likely find much magic within its 95 minute running time. In all fairness, PINOCCHIO AND THE EMPEROR OF THE NIGHT is not as disastrous as Roberto Benigni's travesty, but it lacks that certain special magic to achieve anything close to classic status. As it stands, it's only so-so.