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Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio (or simply Pinocchio) is a 2022 stop-motion animated musical fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson (in his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by del Toro and Patrick McHale. The film is based on Gris Grimly's design from his 2002 edition of the 1883 Italian novel The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi. It stars the voices of Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton.

Pinocchio was announced by del Toro in 2008 and originally scheduled to be released in 2013 or 2014, but the project went into development hell. In January 2017, McHale was announced to co-write the script, but the production was suspended in November 2017 as no studios were willing to provide financing. It was revived the following year after being acquired by Netflix.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio had its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on October 15, 2022. It was released in select cinemas on November 9, 2022, before its streaming release on December 9, by Netflix. The film was acclaimed by critics, who praised Del Toro and Gustafson's direction, the animation, the score, and the voice acting.


In Italy during the Great War, the carpenter Geppetto loses his son, Carlo, during an inadvertent aerial bombardment by Austrian forces. Geppetto honors his memory by planting a pine cone near his grave and spends the next twenty years mourning his loss.

An anthropomorphic cricket named Sebastian J. Cricket takes up residence in the resulting pine tree. Geppetto subsequently cuts the tree down in a fit of drunken rage in order to make a new son out of its wood. He passes out drunk, leaving the puppet unfinished, and a blue Wood Sprite brings it to life, christening him Pinocchio. The Sprite meets Sebastian and promises to grant him a wish, which he intends to use to become famous, in exchange for acting as Pinocchio's guide.

Geppetto later discovers that Pinocchio is alive and locks him in a closet while he goes to church, but he follows him, frightening the villagers. The next day, Geppetto sends Pinocchio to school, but the puppet is intercepted by the former aristocrat-turned-showman Count Volpe and his performing monkey, Spazzatura, Italian for garbage.

The Count Volpe convinces Pinocchio to join his circus and gets him to sign a contract. After Geppetto arrives to take him home, he and Volpe have a tug-of-war that results in Pinocchio being thrown to the road, where he is hit by a car.

Pinocchio is sent to the afterlife where he meets the Black Rabbits. He is then sent through the doors to meet Death, the sister of the Wood Sprite. She explains to Pinocchio that he is immortal, and that he will return to the mortal realm once an hourglass has flowed, cautioning that the time he spends in the afterlife will increase each time he returns.

Returning to the mortal realm, Pinocchio decides to join Volpe's circus, both to earn money for Geppetto and to avoid being drafted into the Royal Italian Army by the strict village Podestà, and starts a tour through Italy, visiting Alessandria, Livorno, Viterbo, Avellino, Cosenza, and Catania.

When Sebastian and Geppetto search for him at sea, they are swallowed by a giant Dogfish. During one of his performances, Pinocchio sings a disparaging toilet-humor ladened parody of a previous patriotic song to Prime Minister Benito Mussolini as revenge for Volpe's abuse and is summarily executed.

He is again revived to find himself taken by the Podestà to a training camp where other small boys are trained to fight in the war. Pinocchio befriends the Podestà's son, Candlewick, who is scared of disappointing his father and being seen as weak. On Pinocchio's advice, Candlewick stands up to his father, but the training camp gets bombed, killing the Podestà. The blast of the bomb causes the boys to separate, Pinocchio is thrown in the air by the blast while Candlewick climbs out of the debris.

Pinocchio manages to escape and is captured by Volpe, wanting revenge against the puppet for humiliating him earlier, but Spazzatura intervenes and they are sent over a cliff, with Volpe meeting his demise. When Pinocchio rescues Spazzatura, they are swallowed by the Dogfish, where they soon reunite with Geppetto and Sebastian.

Pinocchio tells some lies to make his nose grow to make a bridge leading out of the Dogfish's blowhole. Just as they escape, the Dogfish tries to eat them again, forcing Pinocchio to sacrifice himself by detonating a naval mine that the Dogfish swallows. Upon meeting Death again, he demands to be sent back early so that he can save Gepetto from drowning, despite the fact that this will make him mortal. After rescuing Geppetto, Pinocchio dies, prompting Sebastian to use his wish to bring Pinocchio back to life which the Wood Sprite grants.

Pinocchio and the others return home to live as a family. However, as Death told Pinocchio, he manages to outlive all of his loved ones as Geppetto, Sebastian and Spazzatura die with the passage of time. Now alone, Pinocchio decides to travel off to parts unknown for new adventures.

During the credits, Sebastian sings for the Black Rabbits in the afterlife after wrapping up his narration.