Jiminy Cricket, whose name, interestingly enough, comes from a minced oath for Jesus Christ, has become Disney's poster sidekick, probably second only to Tinkerbell. Before watching this movie I had him pegged as the wise, helpful sidekick, who steered Pinocchio in the right direction every time he needed it. Boy was I wrong!
In this film, Jiminy Cricket is really not the best 'conscience' for a boy needing to learn the ways of life. He assumes his role as Pinocchio's conscience almost by chance, and throughout the film he seems to be MIA when he's needed the most. I found this unreliability extremely frustrating.
I suppose his character reflects the same reality I've pointed out about the whole film in my review. In light of the misleading message we are told by our culture, "listen to your heart" -- it's clear in Pinocchio that one's heart, or conscience, is not infallible. Jiminy Cricket certainly has good intentions, but he is also girl-crazy (which is a little creepy, after all he's a cricket!), flaky, and gives up too easily. Jiminy Cricket's character perhaps reveals that we cannot always trust ourselves to make the right decisions all the time. Maybe the old adage should be: "listen to your heart, but not when it's wrong." Hmm...doesn't quite have the same ring.
The Boy Puppet
However, I was disappointed that in the end the story seems to say that Pinocchio finally proves himself to be good. It is true that he acted heroically in helping Gepetto escape from Monstroe the Whale. But I'm not convinced that it necessarily "earned" him the right to become a real boy. Who's to say that he had completely learned never to lie or make a mistake again? Has he really learned all he needs to know?
I'd love to hear what you think of Pinocchio's character arc. What is the real reason Pinocchio became a real boy?