Looks "Pinocchio" not with your children on Netflix!

opinion | A new Pinocchio movie has arrived on Netflix and it’s looking cute and family-friendly in the trailers. Nevertheless, our editor Michael Hille recommends parents: Take the age rating from 12 seriously! This film is not for children – but still worth seeing.

“Pinocchio” in fascism: What is the Netflix film about?


Gepetto looks like Santa Claus in a really bad mood in “Guillermo del Toros Pinocchio”.

During the First World War, the woodcarver Gepetto loses his young son Carlo in a bomb attack. He mourns his death for many years, but then he decides to cut down the pine tree at his son’s grave and carve a new son from the wood of the tree: Pinocchio. The forest spirits have pity on the poor old man, who has also been an alcoholic since his grief and send him the blue fairy in his distress. A small cricket observes how this fairy gives life to the carved child.

Geppetto is shocked by the creature and locks Pinocchio away – until something like empathy overcomes him. But the neighbors think Pinocchio is a monster and try to kill him: in vain. Pinocchio survives gun violence and open fire. Word gets around, and one day Italian fascists are on the mat. They are planning to prepare their country for the coming Second World War and see the perfect soldier in the apparently immortal wooden boy in Mussolini’s army…

“Please what?” – This is how many will react to “Pinocchio” on Netflix


The look of “Pinocchio” may be very special. But if you get involved, you will enjoy it. But the fact is: Cute is different.

Just reading the table of contents will cause many to shake their heads. Guillermo del Toro is known for his horror storyespecially “Pan’s Labyrinth” went down in film history because of the grandiosely gloomy and morbid images. With his “Pinocchio” he remains true to himself: the wooden boy himself may be a naive, childish jester, but the world in which he lives is cruel The Tuscan churchgoers regard him as a “demon” and spawn of hell, his father Gepetto sees him only as a substitute for the deceased “real” son, his best friend (the son of the local fascist leader) draws him with him to the candlewick Italian equivalent of the Hitler Youth in which Pinocchio is to be trained to become a fascist and even met Benito Mussolini.

All of this is shown in one go Stop motion animation style, which has absolutely nothing of the cute Disney look. Angular, hard faces in a gloomy and broken world dominate the picture. In order to perfect the extremely complex animations in this captivating look, Guillermo del Toro brought in Mark Gustafson as co-director, who had already developed the brilliant children’s film “The Fantastic Mr. Fox” in this style with Wes Anderson. In terms of atmosphere, this creates an unbelievable pull: Even the weird appearance of the characters, the eerie movements of various characters or even the menacing coloring of the images makes one think that Netflix should have released this film better for Halloween than in the direction of the Christmas program.

“Pinocchio” is a captivating ride, but one that will disturb children


In del Toro’s “Pinocchio” the characters don’t look sympathetic straight away, they have to develop this reputation first. After all, they succeed with flying colors!

Netflix would do well to only release “Guillermo del Toros Pinocchio” from the age of 12. The story of Pinocchio is here with violent images of war enriched, which, despite the more abstract stop-motion optics, still unfold an immense impact. It’s also often difficult to swallow thematically: for del Toro, fascism is again the worst hell he can imagine, and so Italian rule under Mussolini is described as a time of inhumanity portrayed in which racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism dominate, even the Catholic Church is deeply involved in this inhuman system. Pinocchio and Candlewick end up fighting hard not to have to fight – and in its powerful climax, this film becomes a grandiose plea for unconditional pacifismat any price – without devolving into a clumsy “power for children” message.

There are powerful ideas being negotiated here. In what is probably the best and at the same time most tragic scene of the film, Pinocchio sees believers kneeling in front of a wooden statue depicting Jesus Christ nailed to the cross. At this moment, Pinocchio no longer understands the world: why do all these people love the wooden Jesus, but despise him? A great moment, although del Toro sometimes exaggerates the melancholy and tragedy in the 114 minutes of this film. Especially the particularly creepy designed cricket seems too artificial in its repulsive waythe same applies to the coated end, which tries too hard to hit the pit of the stomach again.

Nonetheless, one should see “Guillermo del Toros Pinocchio” and appreciate how the brilliant Mexican filmmaker once again succeeds in playing on the keyboard of emotions. And especially compared to the Many uninspired Disney remakes of the last few years do well to see a well-known fairy tale so independently and boldly reinterpreted. This is definitely not for children, but it shouldn’t be either. The trailers, some of which still pretend to be family-friendly, are probably the fault of the Netflix producers. A nasty joke that many parents probably won’t find that funny.

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