For someone who grew up in the late '80s or the '90s, animation was serious business. People like Don Bluth were making movies that were mature, even disturbing, and generally treating children as a more sophisticated audience.
On top of that, there's plenty of animation made way before that time — and even if standards for censoring weren't much different for children's movies back then, sometimes it got...weird.
I mean, I remember the Disney one, and it definitely got weird.
So, when Animation Scoop posted the recent announcement via Netflix that Guillermo del Toro will be heading up a stop-motion Pinocchio, I started wondering.
Del Toro is obviously known for his dark fantasy, like Pan's Labyrinth and the Oscar-winning The Shape of Water — but will his Pinocchio be the same? Can it really be any darker than what I remember about the Disney version?
I dunno. Puppets are generally kinda creepy no matter what, right?
I think even Disney must realize it, because apparently in April they tweeted a big mood about Pinocchio — then deleted it after.
I mean, of course they deleted it. But it's the internet, and of course nobody was gonna leave that alone even after they did.
And hey, it's not like the Disney version didn't have its heartwarming parts. Even right after that strange fish-kiss from earlier, we get this:
But enough about me.
The Hollywood Reporter mentions that the art direction will be "taking inspiration from Pinocchio character designs by Gris Grimly, the children's book artist whose work graced an edition in the early 2000s."
And in case you were wondering what that looked like:
So, I guess it's fair to say that del Toro's version won't have much problem distancing itself from the 1940 classic.
But we don't want to talk about that one.
Really, the Disney version adjusted the original Carlo Collodi novel quite a bit to make it family-friendly by their standards.
"This was not the direction Disney wanted to go." Wow, really?
I get that the whale was never meant to be the true hero of the story or anything, but everything with Monstro makes the shark chase in Finding Nemo look like a friendly game of tag.
And then there's the donkey transformation stuff. Oh, boy.
When the kid actually becomes one right before our eyes, it's pretty intense body horror.
And then right after this kid's crying for his mother becomes the hee-haw of a frantic animal, Pinocchio straight-up sprouts some ears.
I'm kinda stoked to check out the new Pinocchio when it's out. And I think we can all agree it's for the best that it's del Toro on this, because what would be the alternative? Tim Burton's Pinocchio, starring Johnny Depp? Oof.