Flash Movie Review: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

I CANNOT RECALL WHAT AGE I WAS except I remember I was not old enough to cross the street without holding someone’s hand. We had gone downtown to one of the old, regal movie palaces to see the animated movie, Pinocchio. It was my first time going to a movie theater and I was beyond excited. Having taken the subway, we entered out onto a busy intersection. The theater was one block away, but I could easily see it with all the flashing bulbs in its marquee. It was a Saturday afternoon matinee we were going to, and I did not expect to see a line of people waiting for the theater doors to open. I became anxious that there would be no seats left for us to see the film. After many assurances, we got into line and waited. To me, it seemed like it was forever before the doors opened and the line started moving forward. The lobby inside had tall arched ceilings. Figurines like angels and nymphs were hanging on the walls with some being part of the lights. Once we had our tickets, we entered the auditorium, and it was massive; I had never seen such a large room with three sections of seating. The wall at the far end from where we entered was covered by a thick, red curtain. We took seats in the middle of a row, halfway back from the curtained wall. It was not too long before the lights dimmed, and the curtain parted to reveal a movie screen. Gratefully, I sat on top of the coats that got piled onto my seat, so I could see the screen clearly.      ALL I CAN SAY IS I WAS mesmerized by the movie. I laughed at parts of it and had to be consoled when Pinocchio and his father were swallowed by the whale. I had no sense of time or how long things were taking; all I was focused on was the movie and the box of chocolate candy I was holding tightly in my hand. At the end of the movie, I started clapping with the other kids in the theater. I wanted to stay and watch it again but was told we had to give up our seats so people for the next showing could sit down and see the picture. I was hesitant but the promise of pizza for dinner finally got me out of my seat. That very first movie theater experience to this day is still one of my fondest memories. And since that time, there has been over 50 films made about the little wooden boy, Pinocchio. From the ones I have seen, none compared to the original one I saw when I was a little boy. So, I must tell you I went into watching this newest one by Guillermo del Toro with little expectations.      MASTER WOODCRAFTER GEPPETTO, VOICED BY DAVID Bradley (Harry Potter franchise, Catherine Called Birdy), was never the same after witnessing his young son’s death. His sorrow eventually motivated him to create a little wooden boy to honor his late son. There would be something more besides an honor for the father after he completed his work. With Ewan McGregor (Birds of Prey, Doctor Sleep) voicing Cricket, relative newcomer Gregory Mann voicing Pinocchio, Burn Gorman (Enola Holmes, Pacific Rim: Uprising) voicing Priest and Ron Perlman (Hellboy franchise, Nightmare Alley) voicing Podesta; this animated family drama was weird to me. I thought the stop-action photography was inventive and fun, but the script lacked joy and humor. The idea of setting such a beloved character in the middle of wartime Italy was so odd; it made viewing this film an unpleasant experience. If Guillermo wanted to make a statement about fascist Italy during WWII, then he should have devoted an entire movie to it instead of trying to combine childlike goofiness and death and destruction into one story line. I did not care for this film and would have preferred watching the original Disney one that I saw when I was a little boy.

                                    2 ½ stars 

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About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on December 27, 2022, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I am undecided about how I feel about this movie. I am not a fan of the Disney version of Pinocchio – nor any other version to be honest – but I liked Del Toro’s decision to do something new and fresh with the story. I thought the wartime setting underscored themes of death and destruction but maybe undercut themes about life and restoration. I really disliked the songs but I thought the animation was beautifully done. The whole thing was walking some kind of line between magical and unsettling – an atmosphere that usually holds appeal for me – but I am not sure this movie found the right balance. I am still mulling it over.

  2. Agree with you! I guess it is a wonderfully crafted film but it’s not an adaptation of the book at all and anyone who expects it to be is going to be disappointed.

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