While animated feature films have really been seeing their heyday in recent years, there still seems to be a certain lack of culture in the genre. The characters seem to be predominantly white American’s. But that is where the new film The Book of Life has something new to offer.
Producer Guillermo Del Toro and Director Jorge Gutierrez come together to bring us the story of Manolo (Diego Luna), a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectation of generation of his family and becoming a bullfighter and following his heart. Two spirits, La Muerte, ruler of the Land of the Remembered and Xibalba, ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, place bets as to whether Manolo will win the heart of the beautiful Maria (Zoe Saldana) or whether she will be wooed by the hero Joaquin (Channing Tatum). The bet sends Manolo on a journey through three fantastical worlds spanning life, death and everything in between as he faces his greatest fears and learns to celebrate the past, find his passion and look forward to the future.
The Book of Life lives up to its title. This film is so full of life it almost leaps off the screen. The colors and textures of the world depicted here are absolutely stunningly gorgeous. Based around the myths and legends in Mexican folklore, the Day of the Dead in particular, the story treats the culture with respect and pride. The characters are rich and fleshed out, the voice work top notch and the animation unique and beautiful. The Book of Life is one of those animated films that anyone of any age in your household will enjoy, no pandering to the young ones here, it is a smart, funny and touching tale for all. And the Blu-ray from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is one of the best in recent memory with a strikingly vibrant transfer that is virtually free of flaws. The Book of Life is a real winner for the whole family, highly recommended.
Available now on Blu-ray and DVD.