Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022) Review
Despite being an adaptation of the monumental Disney classic based on the popular children's fantasy novel, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio maintains its story with a little bit of a dark twist from the acclaimed fantasy director.
It is also a call out to the same adaptation that premiered in the same year that received underwhelming reviews.
The woodcarver Geppetto is still angry about his son's death after an aerial bombardment during the First World War. Twenty years later, he still deals with grief and becomes an alcoholic. One night, he cut down a pine tree and carved a wooden boy puppet to represent his son. Meanwhile, the Wood Sprite sees Geppetto, brings the carving to life, and names him Pinocchio. The creature also assigns the pine tree resident Sebastian J. Cricket as the boy's guide by granting his wish after fulfilling his duty.
Geppetto is shocked after he sees Pinocchio. The boy's innocence and cluelessness make him naughty to all things, which makes Geppetto angry. The village decides to send Pinocchio to school. On his first day, as the young boy is on his way, he is intercepted by Count Volpe and his monkey Spazzatura, who is amazed and wants to recruit him to a circus. Geppetto and Volpe argue, which causes an accident that kills Pinocchio. In the afterlife, Pinocchio meets Wood Sprite's sister, Death, and tells him that he is immortal, but he will spend more in the afterlife the more he dies.
Pinocchio returns to the mortal realm and decides to earn money for Geppetto by joining the circus and to avoid being conscripted to the army, which seeks to utilize his immortality for their gains. As his performance begins, Spazzatura reveals that Volpe is taking away his earnings, which angers Pinocchio. He sabotages his performance by singing insults to Beniot Musollini and gets him killed. Death warns Pinocchio that while he is immortal, his loved ones aren't.
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio has brought in the incredible voice talents of Gregory Mann, Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, and many more. Also, if you hadn't noticed, the legendary Cate Blanchett voiced Spazzatura, who, for the most part, only uses a monkey voice.
It's a no-brainer why this animated film won the Best Animated Film award at the 95th Academy Awards. The use of stop-motion, which is dubbed by many as almost a lost art, is used beautifully in this film. I am not fond of this animation style, but I highly appreciate Guillermo del Toro's approach, from the character's movements to the unique and grim design. A huge props to the animation team because I know that it's difficult and takes a lot more time to make stop-motion.
The story is quite different than other adaptations of Pinocchio. It has a little bit of world history and a pacifistic approach like a Hayao Miyazaki film that adds darkness to the light-hearted story of the puppet boy. I honestly do not care whether it sticks to the traditional material or provides its own interpretation.
Overall, I like the premise of the film. It's not perfect, and the story may be a little bit unoriginal, depending on how you view it. It's definitely a hit-or-miss for traditionalists.
A good 3.5 out of 5 stars.