Has a director ever been so well-matched to a project than Guillermo del Toro and Pinocchio? For decades, del Toro has been conjuring up gorgeous gothic fairytales with humanised monsters and monstrous humans – so it’s no wonder that Pinocchio has been his passion project for years at this point, finally being realised at Netflix. With every new glimpse of footage, it’s increasingly obvious why the filmmaker behind Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy and The Shape Of Water would want to deliver a fresh spin on the I’m-a-real-boy classic, and going by this latest full trailer, he’s devised a stop-motion version of Carlo Collodi’s tale (his first animated feature) that’s even more fairytale-inspired than other versions we’ve seen. Take a look here:
Looks breathtaking, doesn’t it? As you’d expect from del Toro, there’s warmth and whimsy here, but also darkness and tragedy – a story, Ewan McGregor’s Sebastian J. Cricket points out in voiceover, that’s “about imperfect fathers, and imperfect sons, and about loss”. And the animation looks gorgeous, deeply textured with stylised character models that bring to mind the work of Henry Selick (himself returning soon with Netflix movie Wendell & Wild) and the films of Laika. With all that talk of ‘rare spirits’, ‘borrowed souls’, and a Blue Fairy who looks more like Hellboy II’s Angel Of Death, though this undeniably bears much of its director’s hallmarks in a different medium. The film is co-directed by Mark Gustafson and co-written by Patrick McHale – and beyond McGregor, the voice cast includes David Bradley as Geppetto, Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe, Tilda Swinton as the Fairy, plus Finn Wolfhard, Ron Perlman, Tim Blake Nelson, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, and Burn Gorman. Pinocchio himself is voiced by relative newcomer Gregory Mann. Check out the poster here.
Will it still end with a terrifying Monstro chase? Will it provoke as many nightmares as the Disney animated version? And how will it fare alongside Robert Zemeckis’ upcoming live-action film, coming to Disney+ in September? We’ll find out when Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio hits Netflix this December.