“Guillermo Del Toro!”, “Guillermo Del Toro!” I cried in celebration, with all the flair of an announcer signalling the entrance of a famed matador, rolling my R’s with the force of an old plane turbine spinning, spinning—annoying my brother to no end. Let me say, in my defense, that “Guillermo Del Toro” is a heap-of-fun to say, and to say it in anything other than a dramatic Spanish baritone would be a tragedy.
And I had cause to celebrate. This film is art; each frame bursts with a profusion of detail, done with all the fatherly love and care and tenderness that Gepetto displayed in the creation of Pinnochio (a scene that hauntingly echoes Dr. Frankenstein’s act of creation). The film is set in Fascist Italy—but make no mistake, Pinocchio resides only in the mind of its carpenter and chief architect; the viewer does not enter Italy, but rather the imagination of Guillermo Del Toro. Pinocchio revels in the mark of its creator, and therefore abounds with humanity, such an essential component of a great movie.
And how could I forget the Schopenhauer-ian cricket, man-baby Mussolini, and the pitiful circus-ape, Spazzatura. The dark and complex(ish) central narrative is populated with a host of delightful characters that serve to enhance the meaning and contrast of the film.
This seems to be one of those instant classics that will make you forget Disney’s version ever existed.