'Pinocchio': Guillermo Del Toro's First Animated Feature Film Hits Netflix This December

Not many directors would follow an Oscar Best Picture win with a genre remake of a film with a mixed reception on its release almost 75 years ago. But that’s what Guillermo del Toro did with last year’s luxurious noir “Nightmare Alley,” his follow-up to 2017’s “The Shape Of Water.” “Nightmare Alley” didn’t quite catch on despite a great case, but maybe del Toro’s next film will bring a real shot of life. And it likely will, as “Pinocchio” is about a puppet who comes alive and wishes to become a real boy.

READ MORE: Guillermo del Toro’s ‘Pinocchio’ Teaser: Netflix’s Latest Fable Arrives In December

For those somehow unfamiliar with the famous Italian fairy tale, “Pinocchio” is about a wooden puppet who comes to life and desires nothing more than to become a real boy for the sake of his owner, Geppetto. Del Toro & “Adventure Time” creative director Patrick McHale adapt Carlo Collodi’s 1883 novel “The Adventures Of Pinocchio” for the film and give it a dark update, setting their film in 1930s fascist Italy. Del Toro also co-directs with Mark Gustafson, known for his claymation work on “The PJs” and “Claymation Easter,” and this new film certainly features a hand-crafted aesthetic and feel to it.

Here’s the film’s official synopsis, courtesy of Netflix:

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Guillermo del Toro reinvents Carlo Collodi’s classic tale of the wooden marionette, who is magically brought to life in order to mend the heart of a grieving woodcarver named Geppetto. This whimsical, stop-motion musical directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson follows the mischievous and disobedient adventures of Pinocchio in his pursuit of a place in the world. 

“Pinocchio” features voice work from an all-star ensemble cast that includes Gregory Mann as Pinocchio, Ewan McGregor as Cricket, and David Bradley as Geppetto. The voice cast also includes Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, John Turturro, Ron Perlman, Christoph Waltz, and Tilda Swinton.

With “Pinocchio,” del Toro sees a long-gestating passion project finally come to fruition. In an interview with Vanity Fair last month, del Toro explained why he loves Collodi’s story so much. “Many times, the fable has seemed, to me, in favor of obedience and domestication of the soul,” del Toro said. “Blind obedience is not a virtue. The virtue Pinocchio has is to disobey. At a time when everybody else behaves as a puppet—he doesn’t. Those are the interesting things, for me.” The director announced the project in 2008 for a tentative 2013/2014 release before it fell into development hell. Unfortunately, the film floundered there for years until Netflix acquired the project in 2018 after McHale signed on to co-write the script the year before.

What else is of note about “Pinocchio”? Alexandre Desplat, who scored “The Shape Of Water,” returns to compose music for this film. And “Pinocchio” is the first of two upcoming collaborations between del Toro and Netflix. The other is “Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet Of Curiosities,” a horror anthology with stories directed by del Toro and other genre directors, including Jennifer Kent, Ana Lily Amirpour, and “Mandy” director Panos Cosmatos. No word on a release date for “Cabinet,” but a teaser trailer has already been released.

Will Guillermo del Toro’s retelling of “Pinocchio” breathe new life into the modern fairy tale? Find out when the movie hits Netflix in December. Watch the first teaser trailer for the film below.

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio