Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio review
Updated: Dec 22, 2022
By: Mark Aguilar 🇸🇻
(Image via Netflix)
One of the most anticipated animated films of the year has finally been released on Netflix, and it certainly lives up to the expectations set on an acclaimed filmmaker like Guillermo del Toro.
To give a bit of background on del Toro, he is one of the finest directors working in Hollywood today and is from Guadalajara, Mexico.
His filmography includes films such as “Pan’s Labyrinth (2006),” “Nightmare Alley (2021),” and the Academy Award-winning film, “The Shape of Water (2017),” which won Best Picture and also del Toro a Best Director Oscar award in 2018.
Guillermo del Toro is best known for making films in the fantasy and horror genres as well as exploring themes of love, family, and violence as well incorporating mythical creatures in his stories. His iconic motifs can be seen throughout his new film, which he co-directed with Mark Gustafson.
Guillermo del Toro's “Pinocchio,” to put it simply, is a masterful work of stop-motion animation and storytelling.
The heartbreaking relationship between Geppetto and Pinocchio can be depicted in a way that is emotionally resonant thanks to del Toro's decision to embrace a darker tone in the retelling of Pinocchio, something that a studio like Disney is unable to explore.
He has also succeeded in creating a rich thematic world with wonderful characters.
The story isn’t very faithful to the original Collodi story, but that’s what makes it unique as it breathes new life into the already wonderful fairy tale. With the film being set under the backdrop of the fascist Italian rule during WWII, the movie sets the tone with themes such as war, morality, suffering, the afterlife, violence, and grief.
The story also has a huge focus on father-son relationships and exploring the complexities that come with them. There’s a huge focus on the tragic life of Gepetto at the beginning of the film that set off future events, but his character was a huge standout throughout and acted like another main character by following his growth as a person.
Following Pinocchio himself was a charm to watch. Although his character can seem annoying or far too naive at points, his adventures of discovery and self-growth as a wooden boy becomes charming and heartfelt.
(Image via Netflix)
It would also be a crime not to also mention Sebastian Cricket’s role in the film as he acts as the narrator and beating heart of the film.
The only minor flaw in the film could boil down to its second half where Pinocchio is put in one too many situations that affect the pacing of the overall story.
From getting tangled up with circus life, fighting an oppressive political regime, and dealing with the spirit of death, there could be a lot to unfold for some people.
Speaking of the film on a technical level, it’s an absolute marvel to watch unfold. Every shot is stunning and the attention to detail in the stop-motion animation is worthy of any awards it’s eligible for. Everything down to the art direction, cinematography, script, visual effects, and sound design is superb.
The musical score is also wonderfully put together by Alexander Desplat, which adds another layer of life to the movie with its subtlety and warmhearted feel. Desplat actually composed the score only using wooden instruments, giving a natural feel for the world in which the film takes place.
It’s also worth mentioning how del Toro collaborated with another director for the first time in his career, Mark Gustafson, which was a smart choice considering how Gustafson is an experienced stop-motion animator, while del Toro was making his first animated film.
This film should be a reminder of how animation shouldn’t be considered a genre of film restricted to children’s stories, it’s a medium of film that can tell compelling stories like any other live-action film and should be held with the same regard.
With an end-of-the-year release date, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio will be a film pushed by Netflix for awards consideration. With its admirable qualities, the film has already emerged as the front-runner for the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards for 2023.
Not only is this film a shoo-in for that category, but it could also go beyond what most animated films can’t do and get nominated in multiple categories. The film could be seriously competing for Best Score, Best Adapted Screenplay, and potentially-Best Picture, which hasn’t happened for an animated film since Toy Story 3 in 2011.
Although it would take a strong campaign by Netflix to make these nominations happen, they would be well deserved and a formal acknowledgment by the Academy Awards that animation is cinema.
Guillermo del Toro's “Pinocchio” has been one of the best films released so far in 2022, deserving of a high 8/10.