Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio review: As good as a classic retelling can get

A still from Guillermo del Toro
A still from Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (Image via Netflix)

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is a story that most adults and most children are familiar with, and to be honest, there are almost too many adaptations of this 140-year-old classic story of the wooden boy coming to life. None of these versions, however, have the same impact as del Toro's retelling of the film.

Spinning the classic tale in visual and thematic splendor, Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio screams del Toro's signature in every frame of the fascism-stricken world of 1930s Italy. This should not be mistaken for a children's animated film.

del Toro and Mark Gustafson have artfully managed to capture the very essence of the human condition, parenting, and the meaning of being human in this 120-minute ride through the eyes of the wooden boy named Pinocchio.


This is easily one of the, if not 'the' best-animated film of the year so far.

Read on for a detailed review of Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio: A dark reimagination with the depth of a masterpiece

Masterpieces are not created overnight. Guillermo del Toro's journey to create this reimagined classic began at least a decade ago. Perhaps that is the sacrifice and patience required to create something this wonderful, stunning, and honest. At the heart of the story are some tender emotions of parenthood and the existential question of what it means to be "living."

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio does not start with the lonely carpenter's attempts at creating a wooden boy, rather it starts with a man's happiness, an emotion that is inevitably important in order to understand loss. It may appear to be a minor addition, but it adds depth to the story from the start.

David Bradley's voice acting is one of the finest things about the film, perhaps only second to Ewan McGregor's Cricket, who is a constant presence. Gregory Mann excels as a young boy discovering the world and learning to 'live.'

There are so many morbid and existential themes in this film that it will inevitably compel viewers to think. Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio, set in 1930s fascist Italy, had a plethora of themes at his disposal, some of which he uses to great effect.

Perhaps not all of these additional themes stood out but seeing Pinocchio pushed around by Podestà (Ron Perlman), Count Volpe (Christopher Waltz), and even Gepetto raises serious questions about identity and how children are frequently denied the opportunity to discover themselves in the rush to become something.

Unsurprisingly, the film also featured some exceptionally dark and harrowing themes bordering on the lines of horror, much like del Toro's favored classic Pan's Labyrinth.

Even if the story does not connect with some viewers (which is difficult to believe), its visual beauty cannot be denied. This is one of the year's most visually stunning films, with breathtaking character design, frame elements, and colors that bounce off in every direction.

Overall, the film has a few flaws that are overshadowed by its strong points.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is now streaming on Netflix. Stay tuned for more updates.

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Edited by Vinay Agrawal