The Book Of Life


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The Book Of Life
"Imagination breaches the boundaries of wonder"

The junior section of the movie going family might have a problem with The Day of the Dead, Mexico's carnival for the deceased. Death doesn't rate highly on the animation charts, The Nightmare Before Christmas excluded, until now.

There is no mention of heaven/hell in The Book Of Life, not even God for that matter. Having popped your clogs you enter a paradisaical fun palace, The Land of the Remembered, where you remain until those in the living world erase you from their memories, at which point you are escorted downstairs to The Land of the Forgotten, a featureless nothingscape where you wander aimlessly in a cloud of despair forever.

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The plot may take liberties with mortality but its heart is in the right place. Manolo, a reluctant bullfighter who prefers his guitar to a matador's cape, and Joaquin, the son of a general who chooses his sword over a poet's pen, are in love with the beautiful, spirited Maria.

Meanwhile, La Muerte who oversees The Land of the Remembered and Xibalba who rules The Land of the Forgotten place a bet upon which of these two young men will wed Maria. Together they have the power of life and death as well as impressive skills in the art of shape shifting and disguise. Manolo and Joaquin are not exactly pawns in their hands, rather players in the town of San Angel.

The animation, design, script and action is exhilarating. For once imagination breaches the boundaries of wonder.

The Incredibles took Pixar out of its comfort zone into another sphere of excellence. The Book Of Life does the same for those well versed in the comic conventions of Shrek and Frozen. It is very Mexican, enriched with romance, colour, music and, yes, skeletons.

Death is not the end. Believe it!

Reviewed on: 22 Oct 2014
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The Book Of Life packshot
A young man has to journey to the land of the dead and face his greatest fears.
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Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Writer: Jorge R Gutierrez, Douglas Langdale

Starring: voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, Carlos Alazraqui, Ana de la Reguera

Year: 2014

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: U - Universal

Country: US


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