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

Director: Guillermo del Toro
Writers: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
Staring: Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, John Turturro, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake, Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton
Rated: PG
Release Date: December 9, 2022
IMDB

Guillermo del Toro has it. Whatever it is. Guillermo del Toro’s has it.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) is del Toro’s latest visual experience into wonder and fantasy. The two-time Oscar award winner does not shy away from his endless imagination, even when adapting from an old Carlo Collodi 1883 text. del Toro makes chances that suit who he is as a story teller, and the more mature themes he addresses come across with compelling and strong emotion.

The story of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio starts off with Geppetto (David Bradley) living happily with his son Carlo (Gregory Mann). All things are going well in the wood carving business until war clouds the frame. The shadow of despair grows larger as a bomb falls on a church the father and son are working at, killing Carolo and leaving Geppetto heartbroken.

The story takes a dark turn and Geppetto takes the the bottle and drunkenly creates Pinocchio, also disturbing Cricket (Ewan McGregor) in the process. The wooden venting creation sparks to life courtesy of some fantastical magic from the Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton).

Geppetto must adjust to having an eager young manipulatable wooden boy who is eager to either join school, join the army, or join the circus. Pinnochio is being pulled in a thousand different directions. It is stressful not only for him, someone learning how to be alive, but also for his guardian, who is coping with his real son’s death and the stress of life.

There are numerous malevolent forces who want a piece of Pinocchio. Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz), the leader of the traveling circus, wants the wooded boy for profit. War recruiter and overbearing father of his own Podesta (Ron Perlman) want Pinocchio as a dynamic military weapon, and let’s not forget the hungry whale who just likes to eat.

Among all those trails and tribulations, del Toro infuses an explosive amount of humanity. The conversations had between many of the characters are layered; on the surface level anyone can follow along for what they mean for the story, but if you want to look deeper, you will find some treasures.

While del Toro’s vision washes of you, I can personally guarantee you that you will recognize more than a handful of voices. Ewan McGregor is the absolute highlight as Cricket. David Bradley delivers it all as Geppetto, and Burn Gorman’s evil voice rings home in his short time. Ron Perlman is there in his beautiful deep voice , Finn Wolfhard is there for the kids, and Cate Blanchett plays the part of a crazy monkey. Christoph Waltz lends his talents as Count Volpe, and Tilda Swinton’s fairy-like look lends perfectly to Wood Sprite.

It says something that so many famous and talented individuals want to work on such a unique vision of a classic, well known story. Guillermo del Toro is a magnetic force. He makes quality movies, and people love working with him.

If you want even more of an appreciation of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, check out the making-of documentary, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio: Handcarved Cinema (2022). It is a 30-minute journey into the mind of del Toro and the crazy level of detail everyone who made the movie put into it. The different draft of the puppets. The different actors talking about how they got involved. The painstaking step-by-step claymation process in stylized fast-forward motion. All of it is in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio: Handcarved Cinema.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is not only a beautiful achievement, but one of the best movies released in the year 2022. It will get Oscar nominations, and it should be the front runner for Best Animated Feature.

For the record, it was nominated for three Golden Globes and the winner of one. It won Best Animated Feature, and was nominated for Best Original Score and Best Original Song.

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is streaming on Netflix.


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