The upcoming Netflix film marks Oscar winner del Toro’s first stop-motion feature, working alongside Mark Gustafson (“Fantastic Mr. Fox”) to reimagine the classic Carlo Collodi tale of the wooden boy with a whimsical tour de force that finds Pinocchio on an enchanted adventure that transcends worlds and reveals the life-giving power of love.
Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” takes place in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy of the 1930s, where an alcoholic woodcarver named Geppetto (David Bradley) grieves over the death of his son. He carves an ode to his lost boy using wood from the trunk of a tree beside his grave, unleashing insect Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor), who observes (and narrates) when the wooden boy comes to life. Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) has much to learn about humanity — and growing up.
Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, John Turturro, Christoph Waltz, and “Stranger Things” breakout Finn Wolfhard also star in the Netflix film.
Director del Toro explained during the 2022 Animation Is Film Festival that his love for “Pinocchio” is rooted in relating to the concept of “uncaring fathers.”
“Father-son stories are of such primal importance,” del Toro said. “[Stop-motion] became the tool to talk about how precious and fragile we are as humans and how much we need each other.”
The “Cabinet of Curiosities” creator continued, “Most every other [‘Pinocchio’] is about obedience and ours is about disobedience because it’s a primary factor in becoming human, and how becoming human doesn’t mean changing yourself or others, but understanding. The first step toward conscience and the soul for me is disobedience. It’s the difference between ideas and ideology. And idea is constructed from experience and compassion and understanding. And ideology is something that is given to you and you are told to obey it blindly.”
The IndieWire review for the film applauded the message that life is beautifully fleeting, however wooden it may seem at times. “[‘Pinocchio’] is a movie not about a monster who wants to be a real boy, but about a monster that wants his creator to love him the way he is, and to be accepted for who he is,” the review said. “This is a movie about imperfect fathers and imperfect sons, about not meeting expectations, and learning to live with them, about accepting that life ends, that loved ones will leave us, and about embracing the time we had together.”
“Pinocchio” premieres in theaters this November before debuting on Netflix December 9.
Check out the trailer below.