This is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review. At the conclusion of the Animation Film Festival on Saturday, Guillermo del Toro was given a standing ovation after his upcoming Pinocchio stop-motion version.

As a special presentation to wrap out the fifth iteration of the Animation is Film Festival, Pinocchio was shown. The film Little Nicolas (Le Petit Nicolas), which was helmed by Amandine Fredon and Benjamin Massoubre, was awarded the Grand Jury Prize throughout the week. It took up the top honor at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in the spring.

What is the Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio about?

An elderly guy chops away at a log in his workshop while overcome with sadness and drunk. It’s getting dark, and a storm has intensified outside.

The man is being lighted by lightning while he saws and chisels. On the table, a boy’s shadow begins to emerge over time. It’s a house of horrors, a bystander exclaims as the clocks strike twelve and thunderclaps reverberate through the night.

In fact, Pinocchio, a stop-motion adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s book The Adventures of Pinocchio, is Guillermo del Toro’s triumph. The compassionate Geppetto (David Bradley), who is grieving the loss of his son and is attempting to express his sorrow at the bench, is actually the elderly man.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
What is the Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio about?

But the sequence, in which the monster is startled into being in James Whale’s Frankenstein, is tuned to the same crackling frequency. Both scenes conceal elusive grief while pulsing with manic energy and the desire to challenge the established order.

The storyline gains a welcome richness thanks to the darkness del Toro typically deals with, which is all too frequently planned out and polished from other tellings of the story, most notably those of Disney.

As a result, the Wood Sprite (Tilda Swinton) feels sorry for Geppetto and blesses the anima doll he created. She closely resembles Doug Jones’s Angel of Death from del Toro’s Hellboy II: The Golden Army and isn’t even a blink away from the macabre with her quartet of feathery wings, each studded with eyes.

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Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review about Plot 

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Plot – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

The story of the movie is broken up into episodes. First, Pinocchio (Gregory Mann), who was only recently removed from a tree, is interested in his rootless location in the world. He makes an effort to please his maker by being submissive and going to the neighborhood school. But he doesn’t take long to diversify.

On the way to his first lesson, Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz), the head of a traveling carnival, tempts him away by putting him in a truss and bringing him out on stage to perform for a crowd of excited kids. The most noteworthy aspect of this is that, despite the narrative turns, the movie doesn’t feel aimless and rewards your close attention.

Take note of Count Volpe’s long, razor-sharp nose, which has been refined during years of deceit. A puppeteering monkey named Spazzaturra, voiced or rather squawked by Cate Blanchett, is also in Volpe’s company. The phrase means “trash” in Italian, which informs us of the creature’s status in the Count’s eyes.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Plot – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

However, it also echoes another word, sprezzatura, which refers to a deliberate nonchalance — the intentional hiding of one’s art in order to appear easy, and natural — and for which there is no clear equivalent. There isn’t a better way to describe the odd movie’s abilities, where del Toro’s lifelong obsessions have gathered in its labyrinthine chambers.

We are rooted in the fascist ground, just like in Pan’s Labyrinth. In that picture, which beautifully depicts fantasy as a tool that may solve our problems, the year is 1944, and Franco is searching the countryside for rebels. In this one, Pinocchio traverses Italy under Mussolini.

Fascism, once more, serves as the ideal counterpoint to del Toro’s works because it contrasts with their deeply dirty web of myths through its need for order and cleanliness.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Plot – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

At one point, worried about the elderly man’s latest creation, the neighborhood Podestà (Ron Perlman) visits Gepetto’s home. He asks the gathered party to admire his son’s flawlessly straight teeth as he is dressed like a character from Jean-Pierre Melville — hat, tie, trench coat, and finely groomed mustache.

Compare the maculate warmth of Pinocchio to the vision of stern discipline. He had a chest crack, a crooked grin, and a pumpkin-like skull. And there will still be more chaos. His nose’s characteristic extension due to a lie boost makes a huge mess.

An abrupt explosion of twisted boughs has replaced the smooth, glittering extension of the Disney cartoon, as though dishonesty could sneeze its way out at any moment. Del Toro is a master of monsters in part because he sympathetically examines their flaws, such as their fangs, claws, and curled horns, and depicts them as examples of human imperfection.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Plot – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

All of this is significant because, to be honest, Pinocchio’s tale required more stakes. Being a real boy always made him feel mushy, and moreover, there were many benefits to having no physiological discomfort, totally replacement limbs, and, possibly except for the slow eroding of time, no death.

Although his appearance may be a little unappealing, his bark is worse than his situation. The fact that del Toro and co-director Mark Gustafson are exploring the fable’s potential is encouraging. When Pinocchio does pass away, a group of bunnies carries him off to a world filled with wooden coffins and timepieces.

He is allowed to emerge from stasis and rejoin the waking world. This is fantastic news for the Podestà, who wants to enlist the deathless youngster because he believes he has found the ideal soldier — eternally rebootable.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Plot – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

In all honesty, the final section of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, which takes place in a fascist training facility, does drag a bit. The picture begins to have a procedural feel, and as it follows Collodi’s book’s rhythms, the tension begins to dissipate. You hardly hold your breath when Pinocchio, Gepetto, and Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor) are all swallowed by a dogfish.

>>>Read more: The First Descendant Cinematic Story Trailer Retells Its Main Story

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review about Technical quality 

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Technical quality – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

And then there is the animation, created by ShadowMachine in facilities in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Mexico. Even in its most spectacular moments, it is a phenomenal spectacle that neither computer-generated imagery nor even hand-drawn animation can hope to match.

The puppets are alternatively scary, uncanny, hideous, cute, and tragic creations, as you might expect from the creator of Pan’s Labyrinth’s Pale Man, and they are always memorable. The animators create incredible coups of motion and scale, and the screen is constantly flooded with light, color, and texture.

The gentlest actions, however, are what stick in your memory. For example, Geppetto’s long, weathered fingers trailing across a blanket or Pinocchio’s expression shifting in the wood grain around his eyes.

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Technical quality – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

The stop-motion figurines are exquisite, particularly the features of the people. Instead of flashy motions, they use natural movements, like Geppetto tucking Carlo into bed.

Because of the incredible precision, animators had to glide raindrops down their bodies frame by frame. Imagine the effort it took to move the vast ocean frame by frame when they reached the ocean.

There is no question that this is one of the great works of stop motion, a rarefied and irrational art form, both technically and artistically. This is as big a project as Avatar within its obstinately practical world of rubber and clay, paper and paint, joints and wires and levers.

Del Toro’s greatest accomplishment, though, is not letting all the creativity overpower the art. It’s a rambunctious, chaotic, and emotional movie that occasionally gets lost but eventually finds its way to a really poignant grace.

Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review about Music 

Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio Review
Music – Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review

Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro is still a musical. Instead of being written by Disney songwriters, Alexandre Desplat’s brand-new tunes seem like something a kid would come up with on the spot.

Another recurrent joke involves Sebastian’s songs getting cut short. A straightforward singing puppet movie was never something that Del Toro, who co-directed with Mark Gustafson, would do. The Shape of Water and Pan’s Labyrinth filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio demonstrates his command of important subjects with a macabre sense of fun.

Pinocchio, directed by Guillermo del Toro, will debut on Netflix on December 9 and in theaters in November.


Above is Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio review. Del Toro has created an arresting movie. Its wild bursts of creativity, all the product of hard craft and love, are what you remember days later. Try to escape the mental image of Gepetto’s human kid looking frantically at a wooden statue of Jesus on the cross in a church just before his fiery death.

Or of Pinocchio diving into the water and flailing his limbs in an effort to save his father who is drowning. Del Toro hasn’t sewn or fastened his distinctive style on well-known material. Instead, he began to carve after realizing the potential it has always held. 

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