Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

The year of 2022 found two new versions of the iconic story of Pinocchio. One a live action versions from Disney and another a stop motion animated version from the mind of Guillermo del Toro. One of the films will wind up on the best films of the year list and the other will end up on the worst films of the year list. The version debuting on Netflix today is one of the best films of the year.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a beautiful masterpiece.

The story was familiar yet different in ways. This film took a little more time developing the relationship between Geppetto (David Bradley) and his child, Carlo (Alfie Tempest). I was unaware of the existence of Geppetto’s human son until I saw the Tom Hanks version of Pinocchio this year. However, this film spent more time on the relationship and so I had more of an emotional connection when Carlo met his fate.

The film was considerably darker than any other version of Pinocchio I have seen and that is saying something because the original Disney Pinocchio had some frightening moments in it. I found Geppetto’s reaction to Carlo’s death and the eventual arrival of Pinocchio very realistic. You can definitely see some of the fingerprints of director Guillermo del Toro all over this film.

The stop motion animation was unbelievably excellent. There was feel of puppetry in the film about a wooden boy puppet. I gasped when the Blue Fairy (She was actually called a Wood Sprite) showed up, she was so gorgeous that you could not take your minds off of her. The character designs were excellent. Whereas the other Pinocchio kept the iconic Disney look of Pinocchio, del Toro’s redesign of the puppet was stunning. The growth of the nose when Pinocchio would lie was a fabulous new look and made a lot of sense. I enjoyed the new appearance of Monstro too. It had a classic look with some new concepts within.

The film was dealing with some real themes that you might not have expected, including Fascism and immortality. Some of the scenes of the afterlife with Pinocchio were clever and creative.

The voice cast was exceptional. Ewan McGregor was a perfect choice for the narrator and the voice of Sebastian J. Cricket. Other voices in the film included Finn Wolfhard, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, Tim Blake Nelson, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Burn Gorman and John Turturro.

The film built wonderfully through the film, as Pinocchio interacted with the other characters that were in his orbit. One of my favorite storylines in the film was the relationship between Pinocchio and Candlewick (Finn Wolfhard).

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio might be a touch too long, but that is a minor gripe and this animated film is just wonderful. It is more serious than your typical family movie, but it can introduce some vital topics all families need to know. This Pinocchio film is funny, dramatic and magical. It is one of the best films of the year.

5 stars

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