Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” - Movie Review

Story posted January 10, 2023 in Arts & Entertainment by Isabel Sweet.

Most people know the basic story of Pinocchio. This movie takes place during the World Wars, making this similar to a period piece film. Geppetto’s a wood carver who creates a boy puppet who comes to life. There’s a cricket that acts as a conscience for the boy and some magical woman bestows life on him.

Guillermo del Toro’s stop-animation take on this classic is very different from others you may have seen. Rather than make it whimsical and happy like other renditions, del Toro took most of the content from its original story. It has some morbid scenes, but there are still some wholesome scenes too.

The story begins with Geppetto (David Bradley) and his young son, Carlo (Alfie Tempest). Carlo is the perfect son and Geppetto adores him. One day when they go to the church to put up Geppetto’s newly carved Christ on the cross, a bomb from the war hits the church killing Carlo.

Geppetto spends years of his life mourning the death of his beloved son. On a drunken night, he begins building a boy made from the tree he planted over Carlo’s grave. He wants so badly to have his boy back that he makes it slightly resemble Carlo.

A wood sprite (Tilda Swinton) feels sorry for the old man and brings Pinocchio to life to make Geppetto happy again. One condition of this magic is that Pinocchio can never die. When Geppetto awakens he is taken aback by his wooden puppet coming to life, but he learns to live with Pinocchio.

Along with the wood sprite’s gift, she makes Sebastian J. Cricket (Ewan McGregor), a conscious, of sorts, for the boy. He is to watch over Pinocchio, keep him a good boy, and in return Sebastian will be granted one wish.

As the story progresses, Pinocchio learns new things about the world like war, love, burdens, scams and more. He dies many, many times throughout the movie, always being resurrected by Death (Tilda Swinton). Each time he dies, however, he learns something new about the world.

The war is a big aspect of this film. Pinocchio and his friend Candlewick (Finn Wolfhard) are forced into battle training and are later pitted against each other. Pinocchio realizes he does not like war. He also learns that people lie a lot. For example, Count Volpe (Christoph Waltz).

Contrasting the war plotline is the circus with Count Volpe and Spazzatura (Cate Blanchett). Pinocchio wants to not be a burden to Geppetto so he runs away to the circus with the arrangement that Geppetto will receive half the earnings. Of course, Volpe does not do this because he is a crook.

The movie’s ending is not one to be spoiled, but it’s not necessarily the happily ever after that’s expected either.

Was it mentioned that this was a musical too?

There are some original songs throughout the film and luckily, they all made sense to the scene. Sometimes musicals just burst out in song, but these were strategically written and used to further the plot. A recurring theme of Cricket beginning to sing, then being cut off also added to the hilarity of the film.

Overall, this was a well made film. The cast was chosen wisely and each portrayed their characters perfectly. On your next chill day, open up Netflix, pop some popcorn and watch “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio.”

Rating: 4/5

Isabel Sweet is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email