Director: Guillermo del Toro

Starring: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann

Year: 2022

Guillermo del Toro’s version of this classic tale is a spectacular breath of fresh air into the lungs of a tired audience, especially after being faced with yet another Disney live-action remake that’s nauseating just to think about.  We need more original art, even if the story is borrowed, versions like del Toro’s and Roberto Benigni’s, not Tom Hanks shticking his way through a mess and force-feeding us more regurgitated Orlando crap.  Combining the tale we all love an a medium that I can’t get enough of, this time Pinocchio soars.

After losing his young son in the war, Italian woodcarver Geppetto grieves beneath the tree they planted together, cursing a world that would take his loved one away.  In a moment of anger and despair, he cuts the tree down and attempts to create a wooden boy to replace his son, a mockery of a human and a dash in the face of the fates.  Little does he know that magic will work its way into the heart of the little wooden boy and bring him to life.  The tiny pine person, Pinocchio, doesn’t understand the world or his father’s anger, but he had better learn quick, because danger lurks around every corner and life is a tricky game.

Del Toro loves to settle into the darkness and bring the light out for us all to see; he’s a genius in his field and when immersed in his style.  Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth, Crimson Peak, The Shape of Water, Nightmare Alley; del Toro knows how to weave a tale, make it bizarre, make it relatable, and let audiences splash in face-first, it’s why we love him so much, and why Pinocchio was the perfect tale for his talent.  It’s weird, it’s creepy, it’s delightful, it’s sad; this is a story that takes you to so many places, but always at the right time.  The stop-motion animation is a thing of beauty, a real treat to revel in and to wonder at, an awesome mode for the story.  Perhaps it’s a little long, a little might have needed trimmed, maybe we didn’t need a literal Mussolini, maybe a metaphor would have done, but hey, that’s quibbles.  Overarching, this is awesome animation and bold drama, one of the very best of the year regardless of genre.

My rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


By ochippie

Writer, Critic, Dad Columbus, Ohio, USA Denver Broncos, St. Louis Cardinals Colorado Avalanche, Duke Blue Devils