Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio - (Pictured) Pinocchio (voiced by Gregory Mann). Cr: Netflix © 2022

Review – Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” is stunningly animated and heartfelt

This year has brought us not one but two attempted re-tellings of the iconic classic tale of a magical wooden boy, Pinocchio. First was a Disney+ remake that starred Tom Hanks and was animated live-action. Critics and fans alike gave the Disney+ adaptation a poor grade for being devoid of any meaningful efforts in animation style or story. Coming soon to Netflix is Guillermo Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” which as hand-animated using stop motion, and is expected to have Del Toro’s signature darker take on the story. First, let’s check out the trailer and synopsis before we jump into our review.

A father’s wish magically brings a wooden boy to life in Italy, giving him a chance to care for the child.


Guillermo Del Toro has a reputation going into Pinocchio, as a master of monsters and misfits alike, his darker takes on stories are both magical and twisted at times. However, let us not forget that the original Pinocchio story is anything but sweet, with a happy ending. Despite what Disney did with the story in the 1940s, the original book is very dark. Del Toro doesn’t go that dark but enough that his signature style shines through.

In his telling of the story, we also get elements of fascism times in Italy which play a role in many of the interactions Pinocchio has with other characters throughout the film. But that plays a small role in a story focused on a father and a wooden boy who is trying to understand what it means to be a real boy and how the world works. Because of that, the core of the story is still there. Del Toro’s approach to the blue fairy and Pinocchio’s existence has callbacks to his other works (Pans Labyrinth) both in the design of the creatures and also in the inner workings of the boys’ wish.

The voice cast selected for the film did an amazing job. Newcomer Gregory Mann voices the title character Pinocchio, with Ewan McGregor as The Talking Cricket, and David Bradley as Geppetto. Other members included Tilda Swinton as the Wood Sprite and Cate Blanchett as La Colombe. During Pinocchio’s journey through the story, he even begins to understand better the relationship between father and son with a boy from his hometown, Candlewick (Finn Wolfhard).

The story is emotional at many points, in a way that none of the other versions of Pinocchio have been for me, and many of us who screened it. Guillermo’s take on the classic story was stunningly hand-animated stop-motion and brought with it his signature dark vibe you come to expect from the king of monsters and misfits. The story grabs you from the start and takes you on an emotional journey of love, loss, life, and choices. Expertly voiced with an original score sung by the said voice cast. In the end, there were very few dry eyes left in the theater.

Pinocchio is screening in select theatres starting November 18th and hits Netflix streaming on Dec 9th.

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