Whenever Guillermo del Toro is in fairytale mode (and let’s be honest, he’s in fairytale mode quite a lot), you know you’re in for something special. And while the likes of Pan’s Labyrinth and The Shape Of Water have been original creations in a fantastical milieu, for his latest film the Oscar-winning director has gone back to one of his personal favourite fairy stories – one whose influence can undeniably be seen across his work. The stop-motion-animated Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio looks set to be an incredibly special take on the Carlo Collodi tale of the wooden puppet seeking to become a real boy, and the latest trailer is even more evidence of that.
Directed by del Toro in collaboration with Mark Gustafson, the film looks set to deliver a different spin on the story – blending classic Pinocchio elements with the kind of wild imagination, jaw-dropping imagery, and dark fantasy that the Mexican master is well-known for. And to be clear, Pinocchio has always been a dark story – the original Disney animated adaptation is pure nightmare fuel. But what feels clear in this version is that the standard morality story (in which the freshly-awakened puppet repeatedly stumbles down the wrong path and learns lessons about his own conscience and how a ‘real boy’ should behave) seems to be combined with a deep thread on mortality and grief, a perfect complement to the story’s existential ideas. Plus, it looks absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, lovingly hand-crafted to show off the texture and tangibility of stop-motion.
The good news is, the film really isn’t far off now – it’ll hit select UK cinemas on 25 November, and then arrive on Netflix on 9 December. Get your wishes in to the Blue Fairy now. (Ours: can we get a del Toro stop-motion animated Frankenstein next please?)