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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio                   review by Bobby Blakey

Throughout the years there have been numerous takes in both film and writings taking on the famed story of Pinocchio with the most famous being that of the Disney adaptation. For years director Guillermo del Toro had been talking about his passion project of bringing his own vision of the boy puppet to the big screen. Now he has done just that with his latest film aptly titled Pinocchio co-directed by Mark Gustafson based on the Gris Grimly's designs from his 2002 edition reimagining of the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi.

 

Pinocchio follows the tale of the wooden marionette who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto and struggles to live up to his father's expectations, learning the true meaning of life." It features a great voice cast including Ewan McGregorDavid Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn GormanRon PerlmanJohn TurturroFinn WolfhardCate BlanchettTim Blake NelsonChristoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton.

 

I love all things stop motion so when I realized that was the direction they were going with this film I was all in. I knew with del Toro at the helm that it was going to be a darker tone and it works so well for this story. The story is pretty dark all on its own if you really dissect it, but the use of these visuals and darker tones really takes it to a new place.

 

Gone is the little cute wooden boy and in its place is a literal wooden boy that has a creepy awesome design based on the Grimly work. The looks of the characters across the film reminded me of the worlds of Coraline and Paranorman with a hint of realism. All of them look great complete with the cricket this time around named Sebastian J. Cricket who literally lives inside Pinocchio. Its little details like this that make it a more interesting story.

 

All the favorite dark elements and characters are here in different ways and the set up with it taking place in a war torn fascist Italy sets it up in a more unique and kind of sad place. While most think of the fun and magic of the story this is a story of loss and love as not only Pinocchio tries to find his way, but Geppetto looks to get past his loss and grief.

 

The animation is outstanding bringing everything that makes stop motion so great to the table and really delivers some magic. I loved seeing this film come to life and always amazed by some of the things they pull off with this style. I think this was a perfect choice for the story and hope that it finds the audience it deserves because it is so well done.

 

Decide for yourself and check out Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio streaming now on Netflix.

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