dir: Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson
This was surprisingly good. I say “surprisingly”, because I expect every new version of a “classic” to be “shit”.
The original book is a dark classic, the Disney flick from the 40s is a classic. There have been so many other versions made as well, most terrible. Even Steven Spielberg made a version, and called it AI, which was one of the worst of the worst.
I haven’t seen it yet, but in the same year that this came out on Netflix, Disney made another version directed by Robert Zemeckis, and starring Tom fucking Hanks as Geppetto.
I have not found a good review of that flick, cannot bring myself to watch it. I am tired of Hanks as Everyone’s Dad, fucking sick of it. After enduring him in the Elvis biopic, I said “never again”. Is there no one else who can play old man roles in America anymore? How are Wilfred Brimley, or Charles Durning, or Ossie Davis? All dead you say…
This, thankfully, was put together by del Toro, and co-directed by someone who actually knows how to direct stop motion animated movies. del Toro is probably Mexico’s most famous director (outside of Mexico, I guess), who has been wowing and irritating international audiences for decades with his visionary works. I love him in theory, but am often frustrated with the final result of his “masterpieces”.
There is no issue here. He obviously loves the original story, and beautifully incorporated it into actual Italian history of the first half of the last century in a really unique and affecting way, without downplaying the fantastical and emotional elements that made the original story so captivating.
Where the original story is all about essentially a naughty pseudo-kid learning to obey his elders and such, through having adventures that are meant to teach cautionary messages to kids, this story is more about fathers and sons, and how they disappoint each other. Oh and the rise of fascism. But mostly about how fathers and sons may both say terrible things to each other, but they don’t really mean them, and if they just love each other, everything will mostly be okay until someone dies.