Horror Review: Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio (2022)
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio is not “horror,” but it was created by Guillermo Del Toro and it scared the shit out of me so let’s talk about it.
Perhaps the reason why I am attracted to the horror genre is because I am incredibly sensitive. Unsurprisingly, this film was wildly intense and left me in tears (in a very public theater). Its message is a hard one for us all to swallow. What happens in life happens, and then we all die. Which is of course true and horrifying at the same time. It’s a bleak at times celebration of love and “terrible joy.” A friend of a friend heard Del Toro say that this is only a film for children if you want to use it to teach children about death, which definitely feels accurate to me. Despite its heavy message, the film currently has a 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The film has an all-star cast including Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett, David Bradley, John Turturro, Ron Pearlman, Finn Wolfhard and Gregory Mann as Pinocchio. We encounter familiar (but totally reimagined characters) Pinocchio, Gepetto, Jiminy Cricket. And meet some new friends along the way.
The weakest part of this film (for me) was the musical element. The songs were few but didn’t quite stick in your head or move the plot forward in a necessary way. But that is negligible compared to its strengths. I was blown away by the stop-motion animation style. Del Toro was able to re-invent a beloved classic in a way that truly feels new and fresh. As we expect from him, Del Toro takes us along on a fantasy adventure in a bizarre but still realistic enough world. The friendships and bonds are a joy to watch unfold.
The backdrop for this story is 1930s Fascist Italy. The character of Pinocchio was first written by Carlo Collodi (easter egg alert) in 1883. Collodi lived in Florence, Italy.
Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio (2022) was released on Netflix and in theaters at the same time. At the time of this posting, you can still catch it on the big screen. If you think you can skip this one because you’ve already seen the original Pinocchio from 1940, I would encourage you to think again. Even though this is not a holiday film at all, it felt right somehow to watch it this month.