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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio: An Incredible Adaptation

The tale of Pinocchio has been told for centuries, detailing the story of a grieving puppet maker who creates a marionette named Pinocchio that comes to life and wishes to become a real boy. Throughout the past year, there have been three different movie adaptations of Pinocchio released, each with different elements of the story. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio has been described as the darker revamp of this classic tale. Set in Italy under the control of Mussolini in the 1930s, this version holds a lot of elements of the reality of the situation that many Italians experienced under fascism and explores themes surrounding grief and loss (Fox). A reviewer on IMDb, masonsaul describes this adaptation as a “unique interpretation of a classic,” commenting on its surprisingly intense exploration of grief for a children's film and the stunning animation involved in the production. Johnny-the-Film-Sentinel-2187 comments, “This film is NOT meant to have the light-hearted happy-go-lucky vibes of Disney's 1940 Pinocchio movie, but rather a [modernized] take praising the wonders of childhood, faith, and friendship,” going on to describe the movies take on Mussolini as “hilarious”.

Guillermo del Toro is an Oscar winning filmmaker best known for his writing on Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), Hellboy (2004), and Pacific Rim (2013). He spent much of his career working as a Makeup Supervisor and ended up founding his own company in the 1980s called Necropia which focused on special effects in film (IMDb). When interviewed by Michel Martin for NPR, Guillermo del Toro commented on how important this movie is to him, “It occupied about half of my career to get it made…. It's a movie that has been very healing to make and I hope is very healing to watch,”(Martin). After reading over the transcript of his interview, I was in awe at how much work had been put into this film. Not only was the story completely reevaluated, but the stop-motion animation was truly a work of art.

The following paragraph may contain spoilers.

This movie is absolutely beautiful. I have never seen a stop-motion movie executed so phenomenally well. Even the story itself shocked me. The film begins by letting the audience get to know Geppetto in a newer way. The audience sees his experience as a woodcarver, and the story of his son, Carlo, who is killed by a bomb in the war. Geppetto is struggling with grief and creates Pinocchio, a wooden puppet brought to life who he hopes will replace his son. But as much as Pinocchio tries, he is unable to fill the hole that the loss of Carlo has left in his heart. This movie was absolutely heart-wrenching and broke my heart in a way that I didn’t expect it to. It brings up what being human really means, and the importance of friendship. If you are interested in watching Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, it is currently streaming on Netflix.

Works Cited

Fox, Joshua. “Every 2022 Pinocchio Film Ranked From Worst To Best.” Screen Rant, 12 December 2022, Accessed 16 December 2022.

IMDb. “Guillermo del Toro.” IMDb, Accessed 16 December 2022.

IMDb. “Tilda Swinton and Gregory Mann in Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (2022).” IMDb, Accessed 16 December 2022.

Martin, Michel. “Guillermo del Toro says making his 'Pinocchio' was healing.” NPR, 10 December 2022, Accessed 16 December 2022.

RottenTomatoes. “Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio.” Rotten Tomatoes, Accessed 16 December 2022.

Elizabeth Bentley is a senior at Poudre High School, and this is her first year at the Poudre Press. She writes The Occhiolism Operation, a movie review blog that you can check out here!

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