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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Directed by
Screenplay by
Story by
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Matthew Robbins
Based onThe Adventures of Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi
Produced by
  • Guillermo del Toro
  • Lisa Henson
  • Alexander Bulkley
  • Corey Campodonico
  • Gary Ungar
CinematographyFrank Passingham
Edited byKen Schretzmann
Music byAlexandre Desplat
Distributed by
Release date
  • December 2022 (2022-12)
  • United States
  • France
  • Mexico
Budget$35 million[3]
Box office$109,846[4]

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (or simply Pinocchio) is a stop-motion animated musical fantasy movie directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson.

It stars Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Burn Gorman, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 15, 2022. It was released in select theaters on November 25, 2022, before its streaming release on December 9, 2022, by Netflix. This is one of three 2022 Pinocchio-based films, the others being Pinocchio: A True Story and Disney's live-action adaptation.

Plot[change | change source]

In Italy, woodcarver Geppetto loses his son Carlo to an aerial bombardment during World War I. Twenty years later, he uses the pine wood planted in Carlo's grave to create a puppet in drunken despair. The Wood Sprite brings it to life, christening him Pinocchio, and assigns Sebastian J. Cricket, who formerly lived inside the pine wood, to guide him morally, promising him a wish in exchange. Geppetto becomes fed up with Pinocchio's antics due to his newborn lack of self-control, and the village's Podestà orders to send him to school.

On his way, Pinocchio is intercepted by showman Count Volpe and his monkey Spazzatura, who bring Pinocchio to their circus to perform. Geppetto arrives to take him back, resulting in a confrontation that ends with Pinocchio being fatally hit by the Podestà's truck. In the afterlife, he meets the Wood Sprite's sister, Death, who explains that he is immortal and revives when an hourglass empties, cautioning that the more he dies, the more time he will spend in the afterlife.

After returning to Earth, Pinocchio decides to earn money for Geppetto by performing in the circus, and to avoid being conscripted into the Army by the Podestà, who thinks his immortality makes him the ideal soldier. A jealous Spazzatura, the former star, reveals to Pinocchio that Volpe has been lying to him about sending half their profits to Geppetto. Hearing this, Volpe viciously beats Spazzatura as a result, upsetting and angering Pinocchio, who performs a song ridiculing Benito Mussolini while he is in attendance. Mussolini has Pinocchio executed and the circus burned down completely.

Once revived, Pinocchio is taken by the Podestà to military recruit training, where other boys are trained for war. He befriends the Podestà's mistreated son, Candlewick. At a training game, Pinocchio and Candlewick win in a tie; the Podestà orders Candlewick to shoot Pinocchio, but he refuses and stands up to his father. The training camp is then bombed by Allied aircraft, killing the Podestà, while the boys flee. Pinocchio is captured by Volpe, who tries to burn him to death as revenge for ruining his career. Spazzatura saves Pinocchio and attacks Volpe, resulting in all three falling off a seaside cliff, which kills Volpe.

Lost at sea, Pinocchio and Spazzatura are swallowed by the Terrible Dogfish. Inside its belly, Pinocchio and Spazzatura find Geppetto and Sebastian, also swallowed during their search for Pinocchio. Ideated by Sebastian, Pinocchio lies to make his nose grow into a large branch, forming a bridge leading out of the monster's blowhole. As the dogfish attempts to eat them again, Pinocchio sacrifices himself by detonating a naval mine inside the dogfish, killing them both. Upon meeting Death again, Pinocchio demands to be sent back early to save Geppetto from drowning. Aware that it will make him mortal, Pinocchio breaks the hourglass to return, and dies saving his father. The Wood Sprite reappears to a mourning Geppetto and Sebastian, who uses his wish to make her revive Pinocchio. Pinocchio, Geppetto, Sebastian, and Spazzatura return home to live together as a family. Outliving all of them, Pinocchio decides to travel the world until his time comes.

Voice cast[change | change source]

  • Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket, a traveling cricket and the narrator of the story, who lives inside Pinocchio as his guide and conscience.
  • David Bradley as Geppetto, Pinocchio's father, a heartbroken Italian woodcarver grieving his deceased son Carlo.
  • Gregory Mann as:
    • Pinocchio, an exuberant and rowdy living wooden puppet.
    • Carlo, Geppetto's deceased son who was killed in a bombing raid. He is named after Carlo Collodi, author of the original book.
  • Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe, a conniving, evil and cruel former aristocrat-turned-puppet master, con artist, and ringmaster living in destitution. His name means "fox" in Italian and he is a composite character of the Fox, Mangiafuoco, and the Ringmaster from the original Pinocchio story.
  • Tilda Swinton as:
    • The Wood Sprite, a wise magical spirit who gives Pinocchio life. Her appearance is a humanoid with four wings that have eyes on them and a feathered snake-like tail.
    • Death, the Wood Sprite's sister who oversees the afterlife. Her appearance is a Chimera with the face of a human, the horns of a cape buffalo with eyes on them, the lower horns of a Jacob sheep, the body of a lion, the wings of an eagle with eyes on them, and a two-headed snake-like tail.
  • Cate Blanchett as Spazzatura, Count Volpe's mistreated monkey assistant. His name means "trash" or "garbage" in Italian and he is the film's counterpart of the Cat from the original Pinocchio story. Spazzatura can only speak through the puppets he operates.
  • Ron Perlman as the Podestà, a strict fascist government official who wants to turn Pinocchio into a soldier after seeing his revival. He is the film's counterpart of the Coachman from the original story.
  • Finn Wolfhard as Candlewick, the Podestà's son who bullies Pinocchio before befriending him.
  • Burn Gorman as the Priest, a Roman Catholic priest at Geppetto's village who's also his former client.
  • John Turturro as the Dottore, a doctor at Geppetto's village who examines Pinocchio after his first death.
  • Tim Blake Nelson as the Black Rabbits, a flock of black rabbits with skeletal bodies who work for Death. They are based on the Undertaker Rabbits from the original story.
  • Tom Kenny as:
    • Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascist Italy.
    • Benito Mussolini's right-hand man
    • A sea captain with a hook for a hand and a peg leg who explains to Geppetto and Sebastian about the Dogfish.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fleming, Mike Jr. (February 17, 2011). "Guillermo Del Toro Starting Stop-Motion 'Pinocchio' Feature With Henson And Pathe". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  2. Acosta, Gabriel (April 27, 2021). "Pinocchio empieza a cobrar vida en el Taller del Chucho en Guadalajara (Pinocchio begins to come to life at El Taller del Chucho in Guadalajara)". Publimetro (in Spanish). Retrieved November 21, 2021.
  3. Sharf, Zack (August 31, 2017). "Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio' Isn't Dead Yet, But He Needs $35 Million to Make It". IndieWire. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  4. "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved January 7, 2024.