Film Review – The Book Of Life

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A Vibrant, Lively Film About The Departed. 4 & 1/2 Stars.

I love skulls. I love the Skull and Crossbones, I love skulls of any design. So this is a film that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.

Released in the U.S. for the Día de Muertos or Day of The Dead, essentially a time to make a big deal about remembering deceased family members, the film tells the story of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart.

Manolo (Diego Luna) and his childhood friend Joaquin (Channing Tatum) are both in love with Maria (Zoe Saldana). When Maria is sent away to school by her father, the boys follow in their own father’s footsteps learning the way of the Torero (Matador/Bullfighter) and Soldier respectively. 

But Manolo’s true desire is to become a musician.

Both boys continue to carry a torch for Maria as they become men, and upon her return find themselves vying for her attention, and hand in marriage.

Unknown to the two males is that they are the unwitting subjects of a bet between the spirits La Muerte, (Kate del Castillo) ruler of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, (Ron Perlman) ruler of the Land of the Forgotten. 

The only thing that counts in this film is that visually it is up there with Fantasia in terms of being a groundbreaking animation.

The picture details and colours are utterly phenomenal, and that’s even before the story takes a turn into the Land of the Remembered, where what seemed like the most lurid palette you’ve ever seen metamorphoses into the most vivid images I’ve seen in my life.

Incredibly I can’t find it being released in Australia in 3D, which is a shame, because it really is one of the most vibrant films you’ll see this year.

Even in 2D it is a joy to watch, and the story never stops with the action or the laughs. Or indeed the lessons about what’s really important in life.

4 & 1/2 Stars.

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