The villain of Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio was changed midway through production. Based on the novel by Carlo Collodi, the film features a talented cast including Ewan McGregor, David Bradley, Gregory Mann, Burn Gorman, Ron Perlman, Finn Wolfhard, Cate Blanchett, Tim Blake Nelson, Christoph Waltz and Tilda Swinton. Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro has been released on Netflix and is certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98% rating from critics.
In the Netflix documentary Handcarved Cinema (via Slash Film), it’s revealed that del Toro changed the main villain from Pinocchio halfway through production. He found the character in the book to be a cliche and changed it for his adaptation. Specifically, del Toro said, “I think our main villain is crap, and I want to change that. Instead, del Toro put his own spin on the villains of the original Pinocchio story.
How Guillermo del Toro’s Changes to the Villain Helped Pinocchio
Pinocchio and Count Volpe in Pinocchio by Guillermo del Toro
Named Mangiafuoco in the book, Pinocchio’s main villain was originally a theater manager and villainous puppeteer. In the 1940 Disney animated film, Mangiafuoco is reimagined as Stromboli. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio also puts a new spin on this character — there’s no character named Mangiafuoco in the film — and partially molds him into Waltz’s Count Volpe, who convinces Pinocchio to join his circus act as that puppet of all puppets and has big, nefarious plans for the wooden boy; finally, the showman plans a performance for Benito Mussolini. Count Volpe, while insidious, is a hugely entertaining villain to watch on screen, alongside his baboon sidekick Spazzatura (voiced by Blanchett).
In Pinocchio, del Toro takes Mangiafuoco and delegates the film’s villainous roles to three characters: Count Volpe, Perlman’s fascist leader Podesta, and a comic caricature of Mussolini. It’s these latter two characters that add depth to the untold story, as Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio ends up being a powerful and timely anti-war statement. Besides the heartbreaking death of Carlo in the first act, the end of the second act places Pinocchio in a young military camp apparently run by Podesta, who installed his own son in the program, rather than a metaphor for human trafficking. (the Pinocchio of 1940 the island of pleasures).
Can Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio Get An Oscar Nomination
These changes could make Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio a serious contender for the Oscars. The film already stands out from this year’s other Pinocchio with its stunning stop-motion animation. Del Toro’s version of Pinocchio has heavy and sadly relatable themes of war mixed with fatherhood and what it means to be human. There’s also a rich, dark world to the animated feature, a del Toro attribute that has thankfully transferred well from live-action to animation, and it’s a trait that can be widely noticed at the time of Oscar nominations. The same goes for voice acting, as the talent at hand, especially Bradley’s Geppetto, is used to full effect. It takes a strong storyteller like del Toro to make such drastic changes to a project successfully. His Pinocchio remains a poignant image with dark themes that are well applied by his film’s villains, but it’s well-balanced with heartwarming resolution. For this reason and its handcrafted animation style, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio has a great chance of being nominated for at least Best Animated Feature.
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Pinocchio’s Main Villain Changed Midway Through Production | Pretty Reel