Guillermo del Toro enchants with animated Pinocchio


Camila Ramirez, Staff Writer

     Pinocchio, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is voiced by Gregory Mann, Ewan McGregor, and Cate Blanchett. Del Toro’s rendition of the classic tale of a wooden boy and his Papa is filled with incredible animations, songs, and cryptic themes that truly bring life to this film. 

     Pinocchio follows the story of Master Geppetto and his beloved son Carlo living in Italy. Geppetto goes to work in the town church one night accompanied by Carlo when a war plane drops a bomb on the town, killing Carlo. Geppetto is devastated as he grieves the death of a son and creates a wooden boy to replace Carlo. The wooden boy is granted life and given the name Pinocchio. The two of them begin to get along and Pinocchio gets recruited to the circus. After a falling out with his Papa, Pinocchio runs away leaving Geppetto with the “burden” of heartbreak once again. However, this doesn’t stop Geppetto from looking for his son and embarks on the journey to find Pinocchio. Pinocchio is also on his own journey as he is exploited in the circus and eventually ends up in a youth military training camp. After reuniting, the both of them escape the belly of a whale and suffer the consequences of life. Forever father and son. 

     The main attraction of this movie is its creative animation done by Mark Gustafson. This film is done in the style of stop motion and surprisingly brings a great sophistication to Pinocchio. This film took two and a half years to create and this dedication is very appreciated during each scene that this art is displayed. The movement of each character mirrors their individual personalities. The colors in this film are bright and emotionally positive while during extremely deep scenes are filled by darker blue hues. Del Toro also contributes to the structure of this story by altering some aspects of the original tale. Pinocchio has recently won in the categories of best picture, director, and animated feature at the 2023 Oscars. This award is well deserved as the visuals in this film are so compelling and fascinating that it moves the viewer. 

     Despite being a seemingly childlike movie, del Toro’s Pinocchio has a much deeper take on this classic tale. One of the main themes of this film explores the intense grief that follows losing a child. Geppetto slips into deep depression and turns to alcohol after Carlo dies, causing his entire life to fall apart. The entire movie, Geppetto is trying to fill the void of his late son with Pinocchio that he doesn’t learn to actually deal with his issues. Eventually he finds his peace with Pinocchio. Another theme that is discussed is the effects of fascism and war. The death of Carlo is the result of a war plane dropping its bombs on a small town. Many young boys are also drafted to work in training camps throughout the film and face roguish treatment. Mussolini’s terrible dictatorship is also mentioned. This film focuses on the lives of innocent people that suffer because of war and cautions against it. The most prominent message of this film is the importance of life. Pinocchio doesn’t understand this and lives recklessly, dying and coming back to life. He doesn’t understand how his actions affect others in this life. Death and immorality allude to the understanding of the precious parts of life. Del Toro does an amazing job of enforcing these themes throughout the movie that brings such a deep concept to a pretty innocent story. 

     Pinocchio is filled with lovely songs sung by most of the cast members. Gregory Mann donates his voice to many songs such as Everything Is New to Me, My Bubblegum, and Fatherland March. Each melodic song perfectly captures the emotions of each song and supports the voice acting done by the incredible cast. The score was done by Alexandre Desplat and he does a great job conveying feelings through his music. Pinocchio scored a high 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and grossed $108,967 in the Box Office. You can watch this enchanting movie on Netflix and I highly recommend watching it with some tissues because it may be a tear jerker. This movie was so interesting to watch and was overall a great film. Del Toro deserves the praise for his work as a Mexican American director.