Disney’s movie about the mischievous puppet who wants to become a real boy (accompanied by some truly iconic songs) is far away from the original nineteenth-century Italian Pinnochio. As we’ve seen in the last few years, there’s been a trend where Hollywood is turning our favorite animated stories into live-action movies, while also adding a bit of darkness to them to make them more appealing to modern audiences. Disney is the forerunner of this new trend, but there are also other studios taking the originals and remaking them to appeal to today’s audiences (while keeping us trapped by nostalgia). This year we’ll have both, the endearing Disney live-action with Tom Hanks as Gepetto, and a new version of that lovely puppet (not!) by none other than the great Guillermo del Toro.
Now, as we all know, Guillermo del Toro is easily the sweetest, most lovable guy in the movie industry, but his work is anything but sweet, so his decision to join this project makes sense if we forget about the Disney version and focus on the pretty dark original one. So, here are some creepy moments from the book that we hope to see in this new production of Pinocchio.
Farewell to the obnoxious cricket
Yes, I know Jiminy is a really big deal and yes, this movie will have its own blue version of the cricket, but actually, in the book, the puppet is pretty stubborn, so he ends up squashing the annoying bug. Relax, it appears once again as a ghost, but it’s still quite a satisfying moment, to be honest. Please let this happen! This would definitely give the film an eerie and dark vibe to palette cleanse the cheesy versions we’ve seen so far.
Pinocchio being an annoying jerk
If you watch any of the films made about the story, you’ll eventually feel some empathy for the poor puppet boy who’s learning how to live. Well, not in the book. Honestly, as he keeps messing things up and seeing that the consequences are greater and more painful, instead of feeling sorry for him, you kind of end up wishing that he would just disappear. The reason is that Carlo Collodi (the author) never had kids. As a matter of fact, he loathed children (if the ones he met were anything like his character, I feel you, bro). Now, we know for sure that won’t be the tone Del Toro and the creative team will give the character since, in his words, he wants to show “an innocent soul with an uncaring father who gets lost in a world he cannot comprehend.” Still, he could have some of the traits of the original book.
The real consequences of his actions
I don’t know about you, but I always thought that in these retellings we never see a real consequence of Pinocchio’s actions. I mean, yes, his father ends up being swallowed by a whale, but if you think about it, throughout the whole story, he always manages to get away with things thanks to others. In the original story, Collodi didn’t seek redemption. For him, the only moral of the story is that everything you do has consequences, terrible consequences, and throughout the book, we actually see how Pinocchio is constantly facing these consequences (like being almost burnt in a fire, and all the torture he endures, and finally, being hanged from a tree to die in a very graphic scene).
Gepetto is often portrayed as this sad and lonely old carpenter who longs for a son to share the rest of his life with, but it’s just plain sad because we don’t really get to see more of his character. In the book, we see that Collodi is a hundred percent sympathetic with the old man, who has to bear with his horrible creature, and who doesn’t have a single moment of empathy for his creator. In the same way, Gepetto isn’t as sweet as we see in the movies, and we really get to see his desperation and frustration in a very grim way. We know from the trailer, that in Del Toro’s version, Gepetto builds Pinocchio to replace what we assume is a dead son.
This new version, which was written by Del Toro and Patric McHale (Adventure Time) is a stop-motion musical film production by Netflix. The visuals, besides Del Toro’s characteristic style, have been inspired by the iconic illustrations Gris Grimly did for the book, which aren’t exactly cute and cheesy. Besides these facts, we also know that this new version will be set in the 1930s, a pretty dark moment in Italy’s history with the rise of fascism and Benito Mussolini. We know he’s quite good at giving us grim fantasy during horrible times, just as he did with his iconic movie Pan’s Labyrinth, set in fascist Spain, so this will probably have a very eerie and desolate atmosphere as well. All in all, the more I think about this the more I think this is actually the perfect story for Guillermo del Toro.
The movie will hit Netflix this December! In the meantime, here’s the new trailer: