Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio: Movie Review

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio Movie Review: Made with Love

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If we're being honest, we weren't really expecting anything on Guillermo del Toro's take on Pinocchio. A tale that has been retold countless times. But what we got is outstanding. And while the narrative will be all too familiar in its broader strokes, the effort to animate this in stop motion and to even put a fascist twist into its story were wonderful additions that made "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" a tale worth re-telling and re-experiencing.

During the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy, Geppetto (David Bradley) loses his son Carlo as an innocent casualty of war. Out of sadness and despair, Geppetto creates a wooden boy in one of his drunken stupors. A wood sprite (Tilda Swinton) takes notice of Geppetto's sadness and decides to magically bring to life the wooden boy naming him Pinocchio (Gregory Mann). Can Pinocchio help Geppetto move on from his burden and can Pinocchio live up to Geppetto's expectations from a good son?

With a lot of heart and a lot of effort, Guillermo del Toro's take on Pinocchio stands out against the live-action release that Disney released earlier this year. These two films might seem the same on paper but they are as far away from each other especially when taken in the context of creativity and effort. While one was forced to conform to its decades old predecessor, one was given freedom to be and do its own. It's no surprise then that "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" is the superior film in each aspect but what we got was way more than we could have ever imagined. No recency bias here but this could be the best version of Pinocchio on the big screen yet. Critical to its success were two things in our opinion. First was the visually stunning stop motion production from the film. Stop motion is nothing new but this was wonderfully-crafted and brings a sought-after balance between the film's darker undertones. Second was its story. The film isn't afraid to be "real". This may be a children's film at its core but there are topics that delve into war, death, fascism and more that might fly over a child's wonderment but deeply cuts through its more mature viewers. It's this fine delineation and balance which makes "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" memorable. It's one that visually, emotionally, psychologically leaves a mark to both young and older audiences.

Rating: 4 and a half reels
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