Pinocchio (2022) - 9/10
Let’s cut to the chase. This is beautiful. We all now the story don’t we. Lonely carpenter makes a marionette that magically comes to life, seemingly replacing a lost son, but with some complications. You might think you don’t need to watch Guillermo del Toro’s interpretation, but you’re wrong, you do. Partly because like I said, this looks gorgeous, but it’s much more than that. It’s easy to get swept up in the awe of the spectacle. Wondering how on earth they managed such a fluid looking 2 hour stop frame animation. The detail, the lighting. It’s the story though isn’t it. When a story endures over 130 years. There’s got to be something to it. I’ll admit the voice of Ewan McGregor as Sebastian the Cricket our narrator is a touch jarring, but this is a fairy tale and his tone probably fits and I’m maybe just looking for a chink it what’s a pretty impervious armour. Geppetto (David Bradley) makes the inquisitive Pinocchio (Gregory Mann) and he quickly gets into hot water in the god fearing Italian village. Particularly with the fascist Podesta (Ron Perlman). The little wooden boy has a lot to learn. I wasn’t prepared for the songs, but they’re grand and theatrical. Especially as we’re introduced to the evil circus master Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz) who looks like a more terrifying Keith Flint. There’s a lot of big names in here, Cate Blanchett as a scary looking monkey, Tilda Swinton, Finn Wolfhard, John Turturro. They’re not really needed though. Why do we insist that big name actors voice films like this? At least Mann in the lead is a newcomer. Pinocchio’s passion for life soon brings his death closer, but “Death is not the end”. It’s at this point that I admit I’m a bit sketchy on the details of this story. It’s been a while since I were a child. There’s a lot going on here, more than I recall. It’s still accessible to children, but it won’t talk down to them. It’s full of darkness, entertaining darkness. With suicidal sailors and exploding seagulls. My favourite though are the death rabbits Learning as he goes, Pinocchio is the one teaching the lessons as he endures the fantastical tests thrown his way. Every bit the rip roaring adventure. It is quite magical, it’s also magnificent. I wouldn’t have thought I’d enjoy this really, but del Toro and a team of amazingly skilled artists have created an enduring masterpiece. Watch the making of on Netflix too. Mind boggling!!