Review Of Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pinocchio”: An Adaptation As Moving As It Is Dark

The classic Disney story, based on the tale by Carlo Collodi, had a unique and magnificent adaptation that can now be enjoyed on Netflix. We present our review of "Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro".

Still from the movie 'Pinocchio'

Photo: Netflix

LatinAmerican Post | Yolanda González Madrid

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Leer en español: Reseña de “Pinocho de Guillermo del Toro”: Una adaptación tan conmovedora como oscura

It seems coincidental that two independent projects that tell the same story have been released within a few months of each other. And it is that "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio", unlike Disney's live-action, is a project that took more than 10 years to complete. With everything that, it should be noted that the time invested has been worth every second, since the passion with which the Mexican filmmaker told this magnificent original story by Italian Carlo Collodi is noticeable.

Those who have witnessed del Toro's filmography know perfectly well about his incredible vision and enormous love for supernatural creatures. While it is true that the classic tale of Pinocchio does not have these traits, for its adaptation recently released on Netflix it added its rather characteristic dark touches, as well as stop motion animation capable of moving and generating terror at the same time. Is this your best project of the last decade?

We all know the story of Pinocchio, the wooden doll created by a carpenter who magically comes to life to try to become a real boy. Now, the difference between this film and those made by Disney is through a more mature tone and a raw background due to fascism in Italy in the 1930s. In addition, we should add that del Toro and Mark Gustafson ( co-director) twist the story after slightly highlighting the character's critical disobedience with authority.

Regarding the cast, the voice actors perform an incredible synchronization with the visual work of the animation team. Gregory Mann, David Bradley, Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett, Ron Perlman, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton manage to give their characters greater vivacity, not to mention the musical sequences created by Alexandre Desplat to better build this fantastic world.

Read also: Review of "The White Lotus": the comedy of privilege

A Work That Honors Its Creator

Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio" is everything expected of a Mexican film: fantastic creatures, a supernatural world that mixes the colors with the dark, and a plot that leaves a compelling message. Hence, locals and strangers feel attracted and excited to see this story, since it undoubtedly presents a characteristic style that does obey what we are used to seeing from Guillermo del Toro.

The setting of this film is a strong and well-marked point that moves away from the conventional work of Disney. Here we see Italy devastated by fascism and its ideas, which have spread to every corner of the nation due to the Great War. Billboards with propaganda, fans shouting for Il Duce (Benito Mussolini), children sent to military camps, as well as a deep feeling that everything different must be excluded, are just some of the details that show a marked society. for authoritarianism.

With all this context involved, we are introduced to Geppetto, a humble carpenter who loses much of his optimism when his son dies in an accident as a result of the war. Since then, Geppetto has become a grieving man, who soon decides to carve a wooden puppet to try to give life to his deceased son. Precisely, at this moment the tragic story becomes the classic tale that we all know, only with a more mature and dark dimension, although without losing the familiar and moving essence.

And is it possible to see some magic in this plot? Of course, but in the purest style of Guillermo del Toro. This Pinocchio is brought to life not by a traditional fairy, but by the powers of forest spirits, specifically by a terrifying and hauntingly beautiful creature with wings full of eyes. Being a creation originating from anger and sadness, the wooden character looks more like a monster from a nightmare and not the cute-looking one that Disney presented us with.

Likewise, it is worth mentioning that the world into which this Pinocchio is thrown is full of cruelty and violence, which is why he is also capable of disobeying the authorities and power structures with his rebellion. And it is that as mentioned above, the setting of this plot is marked by the exploitation of the little ones, something that Pinocchio himself suffers with Count Volpe and the rector of the town. In the end, the dehumanization of children is the crudest and strongest point of the film.

However, not everything is bitterness and sadness in Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio." The Mexican director has us used to show the beauty behind so much darkness, and this film is no exception. It all comes down to a story of imperfect parents and children, and how ephemeral life is. This puppet does not seek to transform into a flesh and blood child, but rather that its creator can accept and love him as he is.

In short, this film that you can now enjoy on Netflix is capable of showing you horror, but also warmth and good humor. Although it never lowers its dark tone, it is a valid option to watch with the family. The love and care that went into its creation are evident in every frame, to the point of turning it into a masterpiece of modern cinema. We do not doubt that sooner rather than later it will become a reference in the industry and that it will also touch the hearts of entire generations.

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