"I've learned that there are old spirits who rarely involve themselves in the human world — but, on occasion, they do," says Ewan McGregor.

Guillermo del Toro's peculiar Pinocchio teaser trailer previews the titular wooden boy and his human heart as it follows him to the dark reaches of Europe amid brewing wartime conflict.

The teaser trailer — narrated by Ewan McGregor as Sebastian J. Cricket, who lives in the wooden boy's heart — trails the titular puppet as he navigates pre-World War II Europe in a remixed take on the fantasy tale. Set in a village where a menacing officer (voiced by Ron Perlman) controls the area "in an environment in which citizens behave with obedient, almost puppet-like faithfulness," Pinocchio features del Toro giving the beloved children's tale a curious update and dazzling visuals.

"For my many wonderings on this earth, I had so much to say about imperfect fathers and imperfect sons, and about loss and love. I've learned that there are old spirits who rarely involve themselves in the human world — but, on occasion, they do," McGregor says in the clip (below), which focuses on Pinocchio's father, Geppetto, chopping down a tree to construct a son. "It's a story you may think you know, but you don't: a story of the wooden boy."

"He is recruited into the village military camp, because the fascist official in town thinks if this puppet cannot die, it would make the perfect soldier," del Toro recently told Vanity Fair of the stop-motion film, which he also likened to Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.

"They are both about a child that is thrown into the world," del Toro said. "They are both created by a father who then expects them to figure out what's good, what's bad, the ethics, the morals, love, life, and essentials, on their own. I think that was, for me, childhood. You had to figure it out with your very limited experience."

Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio
Ewan McGregor's Cricket in 'Pinocchio,' directed by Guillermo del Toro and Mark Gustafson
| Credit: Netflix/Youtube

The filmmaker's been toying with these ideas for a decade now. Back in 2012, del Toro made the connection between Pinocchio and Frankenstein during an interview with EW. "They are both journeys of understanding, and journeys of evolution of the spirit," he said at the time. "When we started working on Pinocchio we knew very clearly that we wanted to make it different in the sense that it is not just a fairy tale, but a fairy tale that actually moves you and emotionally affects you. It deals with ideas that are relevant to everyone, to all mankind in a way."

Tom Hanks is also set to front another movie adaptation of Pinocchio, as Disney will release its Robert Zemeckis–directed live-action film Sept. 8 on Disney+.

Pinocchio key art
Guillermo del Toro's 'Pinocchio' poster
| Credit: Netflix

Netflix's animated Pinocchio — also featuring the voices of Cate Blanchett, Tilda Swinton, Finn Wolfhard, and more — debuts in December on the streaming service. Watch the new teaser trailer above.

Hear more on all of today's must-see picks on EW's What to Watch podcast, hosted by Gerrad Hall.

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