Categories
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
Animation Features Live Action Movies

The Lost World (1925)

Director – Harry O. Hoyt – 1925 – US – Cert. U – 110m

*****

Review of PAL VHS release originally published in Starlog UK, mid-1990s.

£12.99, Original Aspect Ratio (Academy), Mono (Golden Age Films)

Before Michael Crichton and Steven Spielberg purloined the name for their Jurassic Park sequel, The Lost World was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first Professor Challenger novel. In the book, the bombastic scientist leads an expedition to a plateau deep in the Amazon cut off from the rest of the world which he claims to be populated by dinosaurs.

This 1925 silent Hollywood adaptation (here released in 1993’s restored, untinted, black and white print with piano accompaniment) features prominently in any serious shortlist of live action movies featuring dinosaurs along with King Kong, The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms, Gojira (Godzilla), One Million Years BC and Jurassic Park. Indeed, leaving aside 1955’s Japanese, man‑in-a-rubber-suit entry Gojira, the remaining titles are The Lost World’s descendants via their use of optical trickery and stop‑motion animation.

The Lost World’s miniature model dinosaurs and their incorporation as fully articulated giant beasts into live action cinematography was primarily the work of stop-frame animator cum special effects genius Willis O’Brien, later to put the dinosaurs into 1933’s King Kong and win a belated special effects Oscar on the back of 1949’s Mighty Joe Young.… Read the rest