Time: 117 Minutes
Age Rating: Violence, cruelty & content that may disturb
Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket
David Bradley as Master Geppetto
Gregory Mann as Pinocchio
Burn Gorman as the Priest
Ron Perlman as the Podestà
John Turturro as the Dottore
Finn Wolfhard as Candlewick
Tim Blake Nelson as the Black Rabbits
Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe
Tilda Swinton as The Wood Sprite and Death
Director: Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson
A father’s wish magically brings a wooden boy to life in Italy, giving him a chance to care for the child. However, the two of them have to struggle to find a place for themselves as Italy becomes embroiled in fascism.
For a bizarre reason, there were 3 Pinocchio movies released in 2022. One was called Pinocchio: A True Story which quickly became a laughing stock after the first trailer was released, and then there’s the live action remake from Robert Zemeckis which wasn’t received that favourably either. However, there was a third Pinocchio adaptation helmed by Guillermo del Toro, which was a stop motion animated film. While I didn’t watch the first two Pinocchio adaptations, I’m pretty confident that this is the best of those films from this year.
This movie tells its captivating story well, there is so much love and passion on display here. There is a good tonal balance between being sweet and uplifting as well as being darker and emotional. The core of the store is childlike, and has the sense of wonder that’s in del Toro’s other movies. However, the story is surprisingly complex, heavy and unafraid to get dark, which you can quickly pick up on when you learn that the story is set in fascist Italy under the rule of Mussolini. This is another movie Del Toro movie which has his signature exploration of socio-political themes including grief, religion, war and morality, and they are well handled.
There is a large voice cast assembled for Pinocchio, and the voice acting really is strong. Gregory Mann excellently embodies the character of Pinocchio excellently. However the standout for me was David Bradley, who brought so much pain and emotion to Gepetto. Other standouts include Ewan McGregor, Christoph Waltz, Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton, while the rest of the cast including Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman and John Turturro also deliver in their roles.
Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson directed this, and their work is truly fantastic. The stop motion animation is gorgeous and stellar, everything looks like a work of art, and the movements are flawless. The creature and character designs are great, and the set pieces, backgrounds and production design are wonderful with so much detail. The score by Alexandre Desplat is good and fits the movie well. The songs and the singing sequences are decent and fit well into the movie, but honestly aren’t that memorable.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio is a mature, charming, magical and wonderfully crafted film, with stellar voice performances, and fantastically stunning stop motion animation. Even if you are familiar with the classic Pinocchio story, I highly recommend checking this one out. Strong contender for the best animated film of this year.