We’ve already had at least one Pinocchio movie in 2022, so why not another? Netflix now brings us Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. This stop-motion film reimagines the classic Carlo Collodi tale of the fabled wooden boy with a whimsical tour de enchanted adventure that transcends worlds and reveals the life-giving Power of Love.
Alright, truth be told I can’t stand Disney’s Pinocchio not the live-action remake that we just got. That one I haven’t even seen yet, but I don’t like the animated one at all. It’s sad, creepy, and disturbing and I don’t like it. Therefore, when I heard this one was coming out I wasn’t Head Over Heels excited to watch it.
However, when I heard that Guillermo del Toro was involved and that this would be stop-motion. I was way more intrigued. I mean still not excited but at least curious. Breathtakingly awesome. I forgot that it was stop-motion at points with how fluid a lot of it looked. There is stunning creativity and vision that brings this to life.
I’m not just talking about the wood becoming seamless like it’s not stop-motion at all but just a fluid 3D animated feature. The movements are excellent. I really enjoyed the use of shadows and the lighting effects and how they work to impact the emotion of a scene.
The Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio story provides incredible amounts of backstory and context to how Pinocchio is created and then his journey as a living puppet. I mean the setting was a bit surprising to me as its setting was a bit surprising to me as it’s taking place in Italy as one of the world wars is ramping up. In fact, it feels that way as we see Mussolini being the guy in charge but the way we go about seeing how Pinocchio comes into being.
I mean even why he was carved in the first place it’s terribly saddening. This is a very dark tale and it really delves into the grief and loss that Geppetto feels. Honestly, this isn’t a kid’s movie at all, but there is wonderful animation. That will draw them in but the actual story content it’s quite mature and heavy with so many themes of loss and parental expectations war death and sacrifice. This is presented in an obvious and pointed manner.
I think there also should be a trigger warning about the loss in this especially. If you’re a parent who’s lost a child. It will be a very tough movie to experience. There’s a segment in here that just focuses on Geppetto’s grief, and it’s heartbreaking.
I mean it felt a bit like the scene in Hereditary where Tony Collette’s character is wailing and she’s just inconsolable now. However, despite the overall sadness and Melancholy of the story, there’s also some whimsy and fun that’s present as well. When we first meet Pinocchio there’s this musical sequence that has a massive similarity to The Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack first encounters Christmas land.
Now it’s fun and it’s catchy but it also shows us The Wonder of the world as Pinocchio sees it. As far as the character designs go these are very creative but at points in the eyes of Pinocchio, they’re somewhat dead and lifeless which makes his appearance unsettling.
Now, this does change as he grows in personality. This creates a spark of life that’s visible in his wooden eyes. However, still, in the beginning, it’s a little creepy now the talking bug is also designed really well. I do know that he’s a cricket and his middle name is most likely Jiminy.
In this, we just know that his middle initial is J. However, he’s voiced by you and McGregor and there is a certain level of sarcasm that’s present along with maybe just a bit of curmudgeonly old man thrown in. This makes him fun to watch and listen to.
There are several songs performed in this and the songs are catchy even though they’re filled with Melancholy at times. The score is enveloping and sometimes it’s whimsical and other times it’s mournful. Every time, though, it enhances the scenes and makes them more emotionally engaging in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.
There’s also a song that Pinocchio sings that is 12-year-old boy mentality and is probably going to make any kiddos listening just giggle at the words that he uses.
Now if you’re a fan of the Disney animated classics there are a lot of elements that are shared but there are also quite a few differences. However, they both share dark tones and sadness.
Something I really enjoyed though while watching this version is the Redemptive Arc. It feels very earned and in line with the character growth that we witnessed throughout. Now I’ve mentioned Ewan McGregor but the voice cast is awesome to hear as they give the characters life and some recognizable voices are Ron Perlman Kristoff Waltz and David Bradley as they have very unique qualities to their voices.
When you reach the end of this movie. It has the potential to make you smile through tears. Also, note that if you have encountered loss this could effectively capture the rawness of grief but also the joy of love and life.
I loved the character and the story development that build out a very full and rich story along with deep characters that feel very real. The animations are also stellar and it really showcases what can be done with stop-motion and how impressive it is. However, the sadness and the Melancholy of the story it’s just not something.
I enjoy it’s executed very well here and it creates an impacting and Lasting Tale. But it’s just not for me luckily though. I can separate my taste from the overall quality of the film and this one is really something spectacular.
Overall, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a masterfully animated feature with strong voice talents and imagery that is just breathtaking. Character growth is palpable and engaging with arcs that feel justified and earned from the journey.
While the overarching grief of the story may not be for everyone there is beauty within the sadness that is lasting and captivating. There is no sex or nudity but a tiny bit of profanity and then some violence I give Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is four and a half out of five.