Pinocchio review – Guillermo del Toro’s dark, sombre riff on the Disney-sweet fairytale | Film

guillermo del Toro has created a new animated stop-motion account of Pinocchio in this stark and dark version of Carlo Collodi’s fantasy novel. Such a thing was sorely needed as a correction to Robert Zemeckis’ disastrous, sick, soulful live-action Pinocchio, which also came out this year, with Tom Hanks giving a non-vintage performance as Geppetto, the light-hearted playmaker.

Del Toro’s version amplifies the psychological nightmare underlying the story of a grieving, childless artisan in Italy who, in agony of grief, makes a doll that transforms into a real boy. When Geppetto’s son dies in an air raid at the end of World War I, young Pinocchio is the tragic surrogate, brought to life by mysterious forces a far cry from Walt Disney’s sweetness. He was dragged first to a traveling circus and then finally to a young fascist.

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Pinocchio parodies the idea of ​​innocence and guilt in Mussolini’s age: almost like a cross between Frankenstein’s monster and Oscar in Günter Grass’s The Tin Drum. David Bradley voices the old man, Geppetto; Gregory Mann is Pinocchio, Ron Perlman is the fascist Podesta, Christoph Waltz is carnival master Count Volpi and Ewan McGregor is the twisted vigilante Sebastian G. Cricket.

The movie is strong and bleak, though I couldn’t help thinking that the story of a wooden puppet boy in a stop-motion world where everyone looks like a wooden puppet is a rather odd one. For me, this version, with its carefully packaged fantasy-horror element, doesn’t have the chaos and inexplicability of the Roberto Benigni/Matteo Jaron Pinocchio of two years ago. But it sure has its moments of wistfulness and melancholy and MacGregor’s sweet tones as his long cricket delivers some lighthearted notes of hilarity.

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Pinocchio is in theaters November 25th and December 9th on Netflix.

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