The Book of Life

The Book Of Life

In Theatres: 
Oct 17, 2014
Running Time: 
95 minutes
Love is a powerful emotion, and it is also the driving force behind The Book of Life, an animated film crafted around the Mexican holiday Día de los Muertos or the Day of the Dead. Audiences are certainly no stranger to two friends vying for the affection of their mutual female friend, but The Book of Life presents it with wonderful humor and amazing animation that it’s impossible not to take notice.

Three young kids, Manolo, Joaquín, and Maria, vow to be best friends forever but pressures from their families force them each to take separate paths. For Manolo, that means continuing in the family business of bullfighting, while Joaquín trains to become a soldier of the city. Meanwhile Maria is sent off with the nuns to learn how to become a proper lady. Years later when Maria returns to the city, both Manolo and Joaquín have excelled in their fields, although Joaquín has become the one everyone looks up to. When both confess their love to her, Maria must decide who she truly loves.

The Book of Life is a wonderful and vibrantly animated film that celebrates Mexican culture while simultaneously tells a charming love story. There are three worlds in the film; the human world, the Land of the Remembered, and the Land of the Forgotten, and each features a diverse environment. The Land of the Remembered is the most warm and colorful locale, as opposed to the Land of the Forgotten which is cold and drab. The characters themselves are fantastic, too. Rather than typical animated human-like bodies, The Book of Life features wooden dolls that have been brought to life. You can actually see the texture of the wood grain in all of the characters. It’s one of the most visually stunning movies so far this year.

Visuals aside, The Book of Life features some top-notch voice acting from the majority of the cast. Diego Luna (Manolo) and Zoe Saldana (Maria) are wonderful together and get to use their singing talents to wow audiences even further. The only complaint I have about the film is the voice of Channing Tatum as Joaquín, which feels like a miscast. The film has an amazing Hispanic cast and Tatum just feels out of place with his off-key Spanish accent.

Still, The Book of Life remains one of the best animated films of the year. It’s smart, funny, visual masterpiece that’ll capture your heart. Whether you enjoy charming love stories or popular songs with a Latin vibe, The Book of Life celebrates life in the best way possible.
Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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