London Film Festival review: Pinocchio from ‘Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio’

As you might expect from billing, Guillermo del Toro Pinocchio – which had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival today – is a very different beast from the 1940’s Disney animation, just as arrogant with the Bicarian elements of Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel. The factor that unites the three is that the main character – a lifelike wooden doll – He longs to be a true human boy, but it’s no spoiler to reveal that del Toro, the hero of monsters and misfits, sees no attraction. So.

Instead, this cutting-edge animation fantasy—co-produced by Mark Gustafson, co-produced with Jim Henson and pushing stop-motion art to a whole new artistic level—takes a terrifying approach that Collodi probably found too much. . The result is an adult children’s movie that’s not for the very young (it comes with a rating of 12 on Netflix) and doesn’t have much to offer young girls with its constant affirmation of an unabashedly emotional father – a relationship it cements.

It begins with this very subject, as he paints in the backstory of Geppetto (David Bradley), a carpenter and “typical Italian citizen” whose masterpiece – the Crucified Christ commissioned by a local priest – was left unfinished after his young son Carlo was murdered in the church by a bomb explosion in 1916.

Years pass, and Gepetto, now an unhappy drunk, decides to throw out a surrogate son from a piece of pine. Perhaps the most intriguing theme of the film is the totally unexpected origins scene, shot with a gothic flair worthy of the 1930s by James Will. Frankenstein Movies. Geppetto is a skilled craftsman, but Pinocchio makes quick work with his nails sticking out of his back, and while the old man is asleep, the spirits of the forest visit and give his handiwork the gift of life.

All of this is narrated by Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor), a talking bug who spends much of the film imparting wisdom, crushing it (again and again), and after striking a deal with a wooden ghost (one of only two characters, both voiced by Tilda Swinton), trying to keep Pinocchio is straight and narrow. But off the bat, Pinocchio is unruly and mischievous (“But I don’t want to obey,” he shouts), and on his first day at school he runs to join a circus run by Count Volpi. After Geppetto comes to his rescue, Pinocchio is apparently killed in a road accident – only to find, in an afterlife run by skeletal rabbits and overseen by an eyeless blue griffon symbolizing death, that he can’t actually die, and will keep returning forever.

So far, this is not a million miles from the source book, but in transferring the place to Mussolini’s rule, del Toro performs his boldest and perhaps weakest maneuver, forcing contact with the Satan’s backbone And the Pan . maze This does not seem particularly organic. Returning to the circus, Pinocchio – “Wonder Without Threads” – is forced to perform for Il Duce, inexplicably singing a song about excrement, which understandably irritates the dictator. But by this time the puppet’s immortality has been duly noted by a vicious local fascist who believes Pinocchio can be prepared to become the ultimate fighting machine. Geppetto and Sebastian set out to find him, and the three are reunited in the belly of a monster fish – just in time for the emotional end.

All along, the script has been toying with a whole lot of morals, mostly along the lines of, “In this world you get what you give.” But in the final round, del Toro decides to go darker and darker, and once Death notices that “you never know how long you have with someone until they’re gone”, it’s clear where things are headed (like the end of silent running Before that, del Toro might leave parents some explaining to do).

But with all her heartfelt sermons, Pinocchio It’s a strangely unimpressive experience, and the choppy musical numbers aren’t nearly as memorable as the animation. Fans of del Toro’s bright visual style will not be disappointed, but like last year nightmare alley Maybe a lot of superficial details and it thrives when what you really need is a little more charm and wonder.

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