In Review: Guillermo del toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix)

A father's wish magically brings a wooden boy to life in Italy, giving him a chance to care for the child.

Synopsis: In Guillermo del toro’s retelling of Pinochhio. A father’s wish magically brings a wooden boy to life in Italy, giving him a chance to care for the child.


The Story

Set against the backdrop of Mussolini’s Italy. This reimagined version of Pinocchio puts a new spin on the story. The tale begins with a grieving Geppetto who is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his son Carlo who died while fighting for Mussolini. Enraged by the loss Gepetto chops down a tree, which happens to be the home of a certain Cricket. Dragging the tree stump home Gepetto carves out a puppet of a young boy. That night while Gepetto sleeps the Cricket and young Pinocchio get a visit from the wood sprite who brings Pinocchio to life in hopes of bringing joy back into the heart of Gepetto. She also assigns Cricket the job of being Pinocchio’s advisor in order to try and keep the wooden boy out of trouble. 

Things soon get interesting when Pinocchio catches the interest of the local representative of Mussolini’s secret police as well as the carnival leader and puppeteer Count Volpe. Feeling torn between the various interested parties. Pinocchio agrees to go with Volpe under the condition that his earnings be sent to Gepetto. And thus begins the adventure. 


The Voice Acting

David Bradley is brilliantly cast as Gepetto and really brings a soul and sense of depth to the character. This is a somewhat darker interpretation of the character than what we see in the Disney version and he is a much more human take. Ewan McGregor lends his voice to Cricket who in this version of the story is an aspiring novelist that has heirs and graces. But retains that warmth that we have come to know and love of the character. Gregory Mann gives us a really hyper Pinocchio, especially in his initial scenes. But over time he settles down and grows much as Pinocchio does in the story.

In regards to the villains. We get Christoph Waltz giving us a really manipulative and truly horrid Count Volpe. While Ron Perlman lends his voice to the local leader of Mussolini’s secret police Podesta. Both actors really tune into the darkness and vileness of these two characters. 


The Animation

Using Stop Motion Animation. Guillermo del toro’s is somewhat of a rare treat for the eyes. As every single character has its only unique look and trait. The animation is beautifully done and while I am sure a little CGI was likely used here and there to enhance things. The film has a very unique look and feel and the character models move and articulate in a really life-like and human way. I especially enjoyed the sequence where we see Pinocchio stand up and move around for the first time and the musical number that accompanied the sequence fitted brilliantly as the puppet explores the boundaries of his new existence.



This is a somewhat darker take on Pinocchio in that it explores the human aspect of the central relationships between Geppetto and Pinocchio and Cricket. The musical numbers in the film were fun and did not dominate. And considering Guillermo del toro did the lyrics for the various songs. And this is his first work as a Lyricist. I’d say he has a promising new career waiting if he ever decides to move on from filmmaking.

Overall. I really enjoyed this film and its backdrop. It has a magic of its own, which is very much a del toro kind of magic, which is very different from the magic we saw in the Disney version, which we reviewed earlier this year.


Guillermo del toro’s Pinocchio is available to view now on Netflix.

Guillermo del toro's Pinocchio (Netflix)
  • Story
  • Voice Acting
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Incidental Music

Ian Cullen is the founder of and has been a fan of science fiction and fantasy from birth. In the past few years he has written for 'Star Trek' Magazine as well as interviewed numerous comics writers, television producers and actors for the SFP-NOW podcast at: When he is not writing for Ian enjoys playing his guitar, studying music, watching movies and reading his comics. Ian is both the founder and owner of You can contact ian at:
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