Netflix trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s stop motion Pinocchio reveals a darker rendition of the tale
Boasting an all-star cast, sinister contextual setting and a distinctly wooden puppet, the new film is a far cry from the Disney family favourite.
- 28 July 2022
- Elfie Thomas
An adventurous and wise little cricket, which speaks with the lyrical voice of Ewan Mcgregor, narrates the opening of Netflix’s new teaser trailer for its long-awaited stop motion rendition of Pinocchio. “I want to tell you a story,” says the cricket. “You may think you know the story but you don’t”. Indeed, this darker re-imagination, inspired by Gris Grimly’s 2002 illustrations of the tale, is Pinocchio like you’ve never seen it before. For starters, it’s got an all star cast with David Bradley as Geppetto, Ewan Mcgregor as Cricket, Tilda Swinton as the Blue Fairy along with Cate Blanchett, Finn Wolfhard, Daniel Radcliffe and Tom Waits, to name just a few. It’s directed by Guillermo del Toro, creator of the strange and rather frightening Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) and The Shape of Water (2017), and Mark Gustafson, the animation director of Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. The trailer, which dropped 27 July, reveals a first glimpse at what this talented duo have come up with and, we can't lie, we’re hooked.
Interestingly, the release of del Toro’s film later this year coincides almost exactly with Disney’s own remake – a live-action film starring Tom Hanks as Geppetto. The Disney version is set to be released in September, just a couple of months before del Toro’s. So, how will Toro distinguish his version from the filmmakers who originally brought Pinocchio to cinema?
By all accounts, del Toro’s stop motion promises to highlight the darker elements of Carlo Collodi’s original 1883 tale. Re-imagined countless times in the couple of centuries since it was written, Disney’s 1940 animation is of course the jolliest and most famous. Although, it has to be said, the original Disney film has its own fair share of sinister moments – Pinocchio being caged up by the villainous Stromboli, his innocence getting corrupted on Pleasure Island and the terrifying curse which turns little boys into donkeys which are sold into labour. In del Toro’s version, there will be no Pleasure Island or “Land of Toys” as it is called in Collodi’s story. In fact, del Toro does away with many fantastical elements of the original tale, replacing it with his own, more sombre setting – a 1930s interwar Italy during the rise of fascism.
When Gris Grimly’s 2002 illustrations were chosen to inspire the film’s visuals back in 2011, it was immediately clear that the stop-motion would be a little less sparky and a little more gritty. The most notable update is that Pinocchio actually looks like he’s made of wood. This is wonderfully brought to life in Netflix’s new trailer and teaser visual. In comparison to the rosy painted cheeks and polished complexion of Disney’s puppet, Del toro’s Pinocchio is distinctly woody, with a twig poking jauntily out of his stiff hair and mouth carved haphazardly into a smile, displaying a splintered array of teeth. A rather lovely addition in the teaser artwork is that Pinocchio’s famous nose appears to grow naturally from his body, sprouting sticky tendrils and green leaves.
One of the more ironic moments revealed in the trailer is the haphazard birth of Pinocchio. In a frenzy of grief for the death of his own son, the desperate Geppetto cuts down a tree and botches a substitute doll together with wonky nails, rough carving and clumsy screws. Any self-respecting carpenter would cover their eyes at this point. The irony, of course, lies in the fact that to bring such a shoddy bit of craftsmanship to life in stop-motion, would have required an inordinate amount of care.
Although the new Pinocchio incorporates a few more sinister elements to the story, the new trailer is full of soul-stirring themes, which will appeal to viewers of all ages. And, the little wooden puppet, despite his rather haphazard appearance, is just as lovable and mischievous as any Pinocchio to date.
Netflix: Pinocchio (Copyright © Netflix, 2022)
About the Author
Elfie joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in November 2021 after finishing an art history degree at Sussex University. She is particularly interested in creative projects which shed light on histories that have been traditionally overlooked or misrepresented.