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Animation Features Movies

Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio

Directors – Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson – 2022 – US – Cert. PG – 114m

*****

Created as a puppet by a bereaved, religious woodcarver father, a little wooden boy must make his way in a world of ruthless show business, Fascism and war – stop-frame puppet movie is out on Netflix on Friday, December 9th

Co-helmed by Will Vinton alumnus Gustafson, del Toro’s Carlo Collodi adaptation sees him return to the theme of the Catholic Church collaborating with Fascism that he previously explored in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006). The story roughly follows the familiar template of Disney’s Pinocchio (1940), even down to punctuating the action with songs, but with the loosely defined place and time of a fairytale shifted to a very specific Italy before (briefly) and during World War II, with Pleasure Island replaced by a boys’ military training camp. The emphasis has shifted, too, from the notion of the narrator cricket character as conscience to coming to terms with mortality, although the idea that just because things appear to be fun they may not necessarily be good is knocking around in there too.

A narrator who will later identify himself as Sebastian J. Cricket (voice: Ewan McGregor) introduces us to churchgoing woodcarver Gepetto (voice: David Bradley), who is working on a statue of Jesus Christ crucified for the local church, raising dutiful son Carlo (voice: Gregory Mann), an equally religious child with a true sense of wonder at the world around him, including planes in the sky.… Read the rest

Categories
Features Live Action Movies

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Director – Tim Burton – 2005 – US – PG – 115 mins

*****

UK release date 29/07/2005. Currently screening on Netflix

An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s eponymous 1964 children’s book previously filmed under the title Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (Mel Stuart, 1971), this also marks the second collaboration of Burton with screenwriter / adapter John August. The duo previously made Big Fish (2003), which film had all the desired Burton trademarks (larger than life, nonconformist outsiders, sense of wonderment, distinctive and zany visuals) while sidestepping the flaws (narrative incoherence, weak characterisation) which beset many of the director’s previous films. They’ve repeated the trick with Charlie, elaborating upon and extending Dahl’s original text without ever compromising it. Lead actor Depp is something of a Burton regular having previously appeared in Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994) and Sleepy Hollow (1999).

Charlie Bucket (Freddie Highmore, current critics’ favourite child actor following his terrific turn in Finding Neverland, Marc Forster, 2004) lives with a family (Helena Bonham Carter, Noah Taylor and grandparents including David Kelly and Liz Smith) so poor they live on cabbage soup in the shadow of the Wonka Chocolate Factory. Mysterious, reclusive owner Willy Wonka (Depp) closed it years ago following his celebrated recipes’ theft by rival confectioners and hasn’t been seen in public since.… Read the rest