Del Toro’s Pinocchio vs. Disney’s Live-Action Remake: Which Will Win?

In January 2022, Netflix’s official YouTube account released a trailer for stop-motion animation Pinocchio film, co-directed by Guillermo del Toro and animator Mark Gustafson. In May, Disney released a trailer for another Pinocchio full-fledged movie – a live-action Disney+ exclusive inspired by the 1940 animated classic. This version will be directed by Robert Zemeckis and stars Tom Hanks as the carpenter Geppetto.

The Netflix film is a subversive take on the classic story of Carlo Collodi’s novel, with Ewan McGregor’s ‘Sebastian J. Cricket’ promising ‘a story you might think you know, but you don’t’ . In contrast, the trailer for Disney’s version plays heavily on nostalgia and tradition, with a rendition of “When You Wish Upon a Star” from the original film, which has since become Disney’s signature musical. With both films due out in 2022, how will they stand out from each other?

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The Netflix movie will be fully animated, and the animation is the perfect medium for the story of a wooden puppet that magically comes to life. Stop-motion is a particularly inspired choice, as this style of animation is created by repositioning and taking thousands of photographs of physical character models. The care that del Toro, Gustafson and their team must bring to this project feels like a tribute to the dedication and craftsmanship of Geppetto himself. In this version, Pinocchio will really be an animated puppet.

In contrast, Disney’s live-action remakes have been criticized because the medium limits the imagination of the original animated films. by Disney Pinocchio The trailer shows a glimpse of the static puppet, represented by a prop that looks identical to his appearance in the 1940 film. However, if Disney’s previous live-action remakes are any indication, Pinocchio will likely become a CGI character after having came to life. Interestingly, the fact that Pinocchio is an animated character among a live cast might create a starker contrast between them, making the puppet’s wish to be a “real boy” even more symbolically meaningful.


Both movies have strong casts. The Disney+ trailer focuses on Tom Hanks as the lowly carpenter Geppetto, showing him making his fateful wish and sailing the sea. Cynthia Erivo appears in the trailer as Blue Fairy , and that’s not her only starring role in an upcoming musical: Erivo is set to play Elphaba in John M. Chu’s 2024 Nasty adaptation. Joseph Gordon-Levitt will voice Jiminy Cricket, which the trailer frames from near and far to play with the sense of scale created by the little character.

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Netflix’s Geppetto will be voiced by Broadchurch BAFTA winner David Bradley, who pop culture fans might recognize as Walder Frey in game of thrones and Filch in the Harry Potter series. The film’s IMDb page also promises Oscar winners Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton and Christoph Waltz voice roles as well. Longtime Del Toro collaborator Ron Perlman is also listed to play antagonist theater operator Mangiafuoco.

Del Toro has never directed a stop-motion film, which is surprising as his often twisted fairy-tale style evokes the dark themes seen in other stop-motion films such as Corpse bride and Coralina. However, he has worked in animation before, such as in his CGI Netflix original series. troll hunters. Gustafson has plenty of stop-motion experience to back up the project and introduce del Toro to the medium, having worked on numerous claypot television episodes and one-off specials.


Some of Robert Zemeckis’ animated films, while technically groundbreaking, have been criticized for their extremely realistic style. More recently, Disney’s own Tic and Tac: Rescue Rangers poked fun at the “Strange Valley” characters in Beowulf with Bob, Seth Rogen’s Viking character. However, PinocchioThe mix of live-action actors and more overly stylized animated characters could play to some of the director’s most notable strengths, as he set the benchmark for hybrid animated and live-action films with the 1988s. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

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Netflix’s official summary describes Geppetto as “mourning” and the Disney+ trailer briefly shows a framed photograph of a human boy who resembles the eponymous puppet. This could imply that both films recast Geppetto as creating Pinocchio because he misses his deceased son. Del Toro compared his Pinocchio to the timeless horror story of Frankenstein, which implies that the film will have a dark tone. However, it looks like both films will explore the considerably dark theme of bereavement for a child.

Both films promise imaginative animation and a spellbinding fairytale story. However, it’s understandable that fans fear Zemeckis’ film due to the divisiveness of Disney’s previous live-action remakes, and more excited about del Toro and Gustafson’s experimental reimagining of the story. Whichever adaptation audiences choose to stream, those still moved by the story of the wooden boy and his various moral dilemmas will hopefully find that both films have enough unique elements to merit recognition. to be watched.

Pinocchio hits Disney+ on September 8 and Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio hits Netflix in December 2022.

About Monty S. Maynard

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