The Book of Life
Releasing in time to capitalise on the upcoming Halloween festivities, The Book of Life is a fantastical animated movie for all the family, from the acclaimed Guillermo Del Toro working alongside Jorge R Gutierrez. Mexican Gutierrez brings authenticity coupled with a flavour of his heritage to this gleeful production that celebrates the Mexican Día de los Muertos, more commonly known as Day of the Dead. This annual event memorializes the day when souls of the dead return to earth to be honoured by their families, and now synonymous with Mexican culture, The Book of Life sets to recognise this tradition and bring it to the silver screen.
Featuring a plethora of well-known Hollywood vocals, such as Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana and Ice Cube, The Book of Life is an immensely colourful fantasy, which narrates the story of protagonist Manolo, a dreamer on an adventure through multiple otherworldly dimensions. Manolo sets to prove himself to his love Maria, a non-conventional and mischievous girl who is also desired by Joaquin. We follow Manolo and Joaquin in a man-versus-man duel in their desperate battle for the love of a lone female – however the plot being so deeply steeped in Day of the Dead mysticism is what saves this picture from transcending into an animated cliché. Journeying through magical worlds to find Maria, our hero meets bandits, duels villains and we ultimately culminate in a big act, battle finale that is both charming and comical.
Though at times the plot has the potential to be overtly convoluted for children, The Book of Life is a weird and wonderful visual feast that is incredibly creative and equally playful. The spirited musical numbers are crowd pleasing and happily Del Toro adds his signature dark and fanciful aesthetic to the foray. The intricate designs are lovingly crafted and the characters effectively bring this Mexican holiday to global screens, in a whimsical story that is enchanting and full of delightful humour.
The Book of Life is released nationwide on 24th October 2014.
Watch the trailer for The Book of Life here: