I just watched Pinocchio (One of my favorite "Walt era" Disney features by the way) and Finding Nemo back to back,.this was just a completely random selection of movies to watch together, and I noticed many similarities in these two films. Andrew Stanton was the director of the critically acclaimed computer animated film Finding Nemo, in which he also supplied the voice of Crush the 150 year old turtle. He also studied character animation at The California Institute of the Arts. Anyway my point in this that some of the themes present directly coincide with each other.
Let us take Pinocchio, Geppetto goes searching for his "son" who went missing. He also gets swallowed by a whale in the ocean. And his son Pinocchio has a great idea at the end to get them all out of Monstro the whale. In Finding Nemo, Marlin (Nemo's father), goes searching for his son who is taken from him. Marlin also gets swallowed by a whale. toward the end of the film Nemo has a bright idea to help free Dory from the fisherman's net.
The major difference in these films are that Marlin has already felt the pain of losing the ones he loves and Geppetto has yet to feel the pain of losing his loved one. So Geppetto is not too protective yet and Marlin is overly protective based on experience. I wonder how overly protective Geppetto got after Pinocchio became a real boy and almost lost him previously.
Also there is Jiminy Cricket who represents Pinocchio's conscience. In Finding Nemo there is a vague reference to a conscience in the scene where Dory and Marlin descend into the abyss to locate the divers mask. And Marlin pretends to be Dory's conscience in the pitch black.
Maybe this is a stretch, and is purely coincidence, but I would like to think that there is always inspiration coming from the beginning of the Disney company. And especially Walt himself. It is amazing what Walt and his animators, story men, and the like were able to accomplish over 70 years ago. The films are truely timeless through the story and the quality of the pictures themselves. Which I believe film makers now could always glean ideas from Walt's previous accomplishments. What do you think?