Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio

By now we should know the story of Pinocchio, a wooden puppet, who was magically brought to life. After all, this is the third adaption that we’ve had this year alone. And how can we forget the original 1940’s Disney classic? So I won’t bore you with the plot details. What I will say is that there was a lot of hype surrounding Del Toro’s version as it was considered to be the most unique of them all. I can’t say that I disagree!

The best part, hands down, has to be the way in which this was filmed. Stop motion animation is something that we don’t get to see all too often anymore. To have this featured throughout was so refreshing and interesting that it kind of took my breath away at times. Seeing each character, location and object come to life in this way was really cool.

All the characters that we know and love were brought to life by some wonderful voicing talents. Ewan McGregor as Cricket was by far my favorite, who served not as Pinocchio’s guide and conscious, but also the narrator of the story. Alongside him were David Bradley as Geppetto, Cate Blanchett as Spazzatura, Christoph Waltz as Count Volpe and Tilda Swinton as Wood Sprite. Each brought something special to their roles.

Before settling in to watch, it is important to keep in mind that this version of Pinocchio is very different than anything we’ve seen before. There is a much darker element that I wasn’t quite prepared for. In some ways it worked – for example, learning about Geppetto’s life with his son Carlo and the horrific way in which he died added some oomph to the story and broke my heart into a million pieces. But there were other areas in which I thought it was overdone.

I don’t know what I expected going into Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio, but it wasn’t what we got. There were some aspects that I really enjoyed and overall I do believe it’s the best adaptation we’d had this year. That being said, I spent a lot of the movie feeling confused. Who was the target audience supposed to be? At times it felt it was geared towards children, but then there were scenes that even I’m sure will give me nightmares. I also don’t think setting it in fascist Italy worked as well as it could have.

My opinion may be an unpopular one, but oh well. Maybe I’m just ready for an entirely different Disney classic to be adapted.

Rating: ♥♥♥

The School For Good And Evil

Best friends Agatha (Sofia Wylie) and Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) always knew they were destined for more. Growing up in Gavaldon, a tiny town where nothing ever happens, Sophie in particular has always begged to be taken away to the School for Good and Evil. But when it happens, Agatha tries to intervene and gets taken along for the ride and the two are dropped in the wrong area. Only true love’s kiss can set things right and they will do anything to fix this mistake.

I wanted so badly to enjoy this movie. I never read the books so I cannot say whether or not they stayed true to the story, but I was hopeful for this adaptation. There were so many promising aspects from the incredible world building, to the magical creatures and fantastic costume choices. Also, if you think about it, we haven’t had a captivating enough fantasy series in a while.

I’m sad to say that this flat out disappointed me. I don’t know where I went wrong in thinking this would be an origin story between Lady Lesso (Charlize Theron) and Professor Dovey (Kerry Washington), but that would have been one hundred percent more interesting. Then there was the fact that Theron and Washington weren’t even in the movie as much as I thought they’d be.

While I wanted to get onboard with Agatha and Sophie’s story, there was something holding me back. I think a large part of that had to do with their acting. Having seen Wylie in High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, I was familiar with her work and found her to be the strongest one of the bunch, though at times her too cool for school attitude grew tiresome. Caruso, on the other hand, was just bratty and annoying. I get that was the point of her character, but I couldn’t stand it as time progressed.

In addition to seeing more of Lesso and Dovey, I would have liked to have more backstory on some other characters. Kit Young portrayed Rafal and Rhian, the founders of the school. More focus on him would have been a different take. Or even when they were older, the role taken on by Laurence Fishburne would have sufficed. I did like having Cate Blanchett as The Storian, however.

I truly believe that if The School For Good And Evil had been adapted as a TV series instead of a movie, it could have been much better. There would have been more time to flesh out each character and plot point and it wouldn’t have felt so jumbled together. A wasted opportunity.

Rating: ♥♥