“I’ve got no strings / To hold me down / To make me fret / Or make me frown /
I had strings / But now I’m free / There are no strings on me.”
Sound familiar? Pinocchio, the puppet, sang this on stage as he escaped the burdens and responsibilities imposed on him by his father. Seduced by a devil disguised as a fox, Pinocchio doesn’t need school because he will be a star in Hollywood, maybe even go viral! As author and YouTube phenom Jordan Peterson asks in his lectures, Why does this children’s classic endure? And we can ask why movie directors are still drawn to the story, the latest being Guillermo del Toro’s reimagining of the 19th-century novel.
Suppose you were to read the original by Italian author Carlo Collodi, who was escaping the consequences of his own escapades in the fleeting world of money, pleasure, and debt that would later land his fictional creation in puppet master Stromboli’s cage. In that cell, you might begin to find the answer. Disney softened the harsh tale with some deus ex machina tricks—blue fairies and magical moments—but maintained the core story arc of a wooden boy who turns “jackass”—and