Pinocchio Guillermo del Toro resurrects the classic fairy tale in one of the most beautiful animated films to come out in recent years, a powerful and life-affirming father and son story of acceptance and love in the face of pain, suffering and fascism. The director's love for monsters is one of his best films of the decade.
The film takes place in Italy in the 1930s, when the country was engulfed by fascism. We see how dangerous ideologies spread quickly and undetected at first, and what begins with ordinary urban blacksmiths obsessed with uniformity and order, gives way to groups of fanatics who scream about the Duchy, send children to boot camps, and all the rest. From an exception – or worse.
In the midst of all this, we meet Geppetto, a humble woodcutter, loved by all and with a happy outlook on life. Everything changes when he loses his son during a senseless air raid on the city at the end of the Great War, which turns Geppetto into a miserable drunk who curses God and the laws of nature and decides to bring his son back to life. For cutting baby size dolls. David Bradley is badass as Geppetto, but it's the Shadowmachine animation team that pushes the boundaries of stop-motion animation to create the best puppetry in cinema.
When Geppetto falls over his son's grave and weeps, you not only feel the pain in the vocal performance, but also see the puppet's tired breathing, his trembling legs and trembling of his hands; Even the clothes move and flow naturally with the doll's body, something we rarely see when she's standing still. As Pinocchio's wooden body magically appeared in the film, Del Toro, who starred alongside Mark Gustafson, and their army of more than 40 animators brought in wooden puppets (technically made of plastic and silicone) to create a pair. who are they This year's great movie introduction – animated or not.
Each character moves and behaves like a completely different person, and the show's animation takes two seconds to bring their imperfect movements to life (meaning half a frame to animate in a regular movie). They have quirks and itches, make mistakes and weigh when they sit. Meanwhile, cinematographer Frank Bassingham brought bright lighting and blocking techniques to the film, making it seem like Hayao Miyazaki shot in natural light and using negative space.
In his grief, Geppetto creates a wooden boy. Like Victor Frankenstein, he is held back by the powers that be and his creativity is unnatural, so this version of Pinocchio has more in common with Frankenstein's stony appearance than the singular good looks of the Disney version. Geppetto's work is already left unfinished when it comes to life, and he is very ugly and moves like a monstrous monster.
In many ways, Pinocchio is a giant finger at the heart of Disney, both for Carlo Collodi's original story and for fairy tales in general. While this is a movie the whole family can watch and learn from, it doesn't talk to or talk to children. The bones of the original story remain, such as Pinocchio's time at the circus, the lessons he learns about being nice, and the dangerous mauling of sharks (there's a nice homage to Ray Harryhausen), but here the story is reimagined as a rebellion. The flight to the circus of expectations was not originally a misguided choice of laziness, but a desperate plea to conform and be content with the fascist city school.
If you're expecting "film action in Mussolini's Italy" to be just window dressing, think again, as the threat of fascism surrounds every aspect of the film, Pinocchio's circus act, which is ultimately a promotional offering in support. The army script del Toro has been developing for more than a decade, first with Matthew Robbins and now with Beyond the Garden Wall creator Patrick McHale, revolves around recasting a hideous monster as the story's sole protagonist. One who sees the error of man's way and rejects it.
Similarly, the film makes no mention of Pinocchio's goal of becoming a real boy and does not shy away from real-life horrors. The creature that brings Pinocchio to life is not a traditional fairy, but a frightening and frighteningly beautiful creature that looks like an archetypal gentle angel with big eyes – more like the Angel of Death from Hellboy 2. When Pinocchio first wakes up, he experiences something like a nightmare, a completely curious child thrown into a world he doesn't know, the child hurt, broken and speaking disrespectfully. His world is not a world of simple moral teachings and rewards, but a world full of cruelty, death and violence. Like Vava's Maze and The Devil's Spine, this film is set in a particularly violent period and focuses on how children deal with their suffering. There are some pretty gruesome images out there, and it's not just the bad guys who die gruesome deaths.
However, Pinocchio is still far from being a sad or gloomy film. It's about the beauty of fleeting life, and it's not about a monster who wants to be a real boy, it's about a monster who wants to be loved by his creator and accepted for who he is. It's a film about imperfect fathers and sons, how to not meet expectations and learn to live with them, life ends, loved ones leave us and how to accept the time we waste. . Together with horror, of course, but also warmth, laughter and many songs. Patrick McHale, who gave us the 2014 hit "Potatoes and Molasses," co-wrote with Robin Katz and del Toro a series that's as funny and exciting as it is sad and deep. Meanwhile, Alexandre Desblatt's music is a spiritual continuation of his music in The Shape of Water and perfectly matches the film's romantic tone.
There's plenty of comedy too, thanks to the satirical Ewan McGregor and the philosophical Sebastian Jay Cricket. There are plenty of jokes in the movie about his short stature and tendency to collapse, and they work every time. While many star-studded animated films lack actual acting, here the actors are so engrossed in their unofficial roles that it's not always clear who is playing whom.
Guillermo del Toro has spent more than a decade creating the stop-motion films of his dreams, growing as a director during that time. However, Pinocchio seems to be the best combination of the classic del Toro and the new del Toro, with the wisdom and melancholy that comes with age and experience, but with a strong love of Spanish-language film stories. Perhaps most impressive is how Pinocchio takes an old form of animation to new places and breathes life into inanimate objects like puppets.
Netflix Pinocchio hits theaters in November and premieres on December 9