Welcome to the Ending Explained for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. After many years in the making, 2022 finally sees the release of Guillermo del Toro’s ode to stop-motion animation. Del Toro has been an avid fan of the art form since he was very little, so it makes sense for him to decide to do a movie such as this one. He incorporates the classic tale with his own ideas and signature aesthetic to create something unique in the current animation scene. The film is finally available on Netflix, and it is a must for del Toro fans and film fans in general.
The movie is beautifully designed, and seeing these puppets animated with such detail is really something to behold. The voice cast is amazing and includes the performances of Gregory Mann in the title role, as well as David Bradley in the role of Gepetto. Both actors kill it by making expert use of their voices to convey all kinds of emotions. The cast also uses, to a lesser degree, the voices of Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz, Ron Perlman, and a fantastic Ewan McGregor. The movie is the front-runner for the best-animated film at next year’s Oscars.
The following paragraphs contain spoilers for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio. Read at your own risk.
Why Does Gepetto Create Pinocchio?
Guillermo’s version of Pinocchio takes most of the same structure from the original tale and from the many adaptations of the tale that we have seen throughout the years. However, he also injects a few of his own ideas. For example, there is some clear commentary on the church and Christianism. Guillermo grew up in a very religious family, and so he experienced many of the rituals involved in the religion, but also the bits that make you doubt about the veracity of the entire doctrine.
At one point, Pinocchio asks why people like Jesus Christ and pray and worship its wooden depiction inside the church but fear him, even though he is the one that can directly talk to them. These ideas are very provocative, and they make the movie special. We are also given an expanded intro with Gepetto as the main character. We see the toy maker as more of an artist that specializes in all things wood, and we also meet his son and his reason to live, a boy named Carlo.
Carlo is a very good boy, and he loves his father very much. He is also quite appreciated in the surrounding village, and it seems like he will grow up to become an outstanding member of the town’s community. However, the war is starting, and in a very dreadful incident, Carlo is killed by a bomb that lands on the church. Gepetto becomes depressed, and begins to drink, and loses the respect of the town. He then, in an act of despair, cuts a tree down and makes a wooden puppet to resemble his lost son.
It is here that a spirit named the wood sprite appears before Sebastian the cricket, who has been living inside the boys’ chest. The spirit makes a deal with Sebastian and promises that if he manages to teach the boy to be good, she will grant him one wish. The wood sprite brings Pinocchio to life, and although at first Gepetto seems shocked, he tries to make it work. It is here that we learn that the movie takes place during Fascist Italy and that the leader of the country is none other than Benito Mussolini.
How Does Fascism Have To Do With This Version Of Pinocchio?
This is not the first time Guillermo del Toro has used fascism as a storytelling tool. He used it previously in Pan’s Labyrinth, setting the story during the Spain of Franco. There, Guillermo used fascism as a way to say that humans are the real monsters. They are the ones who manufacture the tragedies and atrocities that fuel our nightmares and fears every day and night. Pans, werewolves, mummies, vampires, and many others are not responsible for those calamities. There is no one to blame but ourselves.
Meanwhile, here in Pinocchio, Guillermo uses the totalitarian government system to add another layer of depth to the one from the original tale. Carlo Collodi, the author of the original Pinnochio, intended for the tale to become a warning against bad behavior. Pinocchio disobeys his father and gets into a series of problems that become bigger and bigger, including his famous nose, which grows each time he lies. However, this time, Guillermo uses fascism to tell us that maybe the adults are the ones who need to heed the warning.
Throughout the movie, the importance of the relationship between fathers and sons and how fathers are the ones who will shape the fathers of the future becomes very clear. Will the kids teach the same things they learned as kids? They will probably do so, so they need to be taught well. Pinocchio gets involved with the Italian fascist youth at one point in the film, and he learns that following orders just for the sake of it doesn’t really make sense. Saying no in front of what is clearly wrong requires true braveness.
The movie also teaches a hard lesson about life. Guillermo has always implied that he would love for kids to learn these things instead of being protected from them. Thus, the movie bases a big part of its story around the concept of death. In the end, we see how Pinocchio sees all of his friends and his father die. However, he has learned that it is only death that gives true meaning to life and that we must seize that short time to live a good life for ourselves and for the people we love.