The visual styles between the two movies also couldn’t be more different, and based on the trailers that have been released for both films, this may be what ultimately draws audiences to one film or the other, if not both. Disney’s version is live-action, but features CGI characters including Pinocchio himself, Jiminy Cricket, Honest John the fox, and more. With its period-specific costumes, musical numbers and performances, and a cheerful tone that seems to celebrate the originality of its outcast hero, the Disney “Pinocchio” trailer reminds me less of a dark fairy tale and more of something like “The Greatest Showman.”
The Netflix version of the story, meanwhile, is stop-motion animation, and thus looks a bit more like epic adventures we’ve seen in that format. Visually, it’s much closer to “Kubo and the Two Strings” or “Fantastic Mr. Fox” than it is to any Disney film. Its design reportedly comes from the art of Gris Grimly, who illustrated a 2002 version of the “Pinocchio” book for Tor Books. In Grimly’s design, the “real boy” is still clearly wooden, with spindly joints, visible nails, and the whirls and lines of a piece of wood. The first trailer for Del Toro’s “Pinocchio” shows this design in action, along with other new-to-screen character interpretations, like the mustachioed blue cricket, and a giant, celestial-looking being that’s likely the Turquoise Fairy.