The Book of Life tells the tale of the heroic Manolo (Diego Luna), a young man who is torn between fulfilling his family’s expectations of becoming a bull fighter or following his heart of being singer. As he embarks on life-changing adventure between three fantasy worlds, this stunning film revolves how he must learn to face his greatest fears.
Directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, The Book Of Lie is the latest in a crop of recent Halloween films aimed towards children. Just last year, we had ParaNorman. And before that, came movies such as Coraline and Monster House. All were fantastic.
With studios seeming to be tapping into this genre in the world of animation, Halloween lovers like myself are enjoying these films very much.
The film is an absolute visual feast from beginning to end and it perfectly depicts its characters and the world they inhabit.
That being said though, The Book of Life is sweet, funny and charming, but not nearly enough as it should be. The dialogue is lacking and the love triangle between Manolo, his frenemy Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and their love interest Maria (Zoe Saldana) is incredibly bland. Luckily for viewers however, the absolutely stunning visuals mostly make up for the generic tale.
The film is an absolute visual feast from beginning to end and it perfectly depicts its characters and the world they inhabit. The voice work is also strong – Tatum and Saldana are warm and add some familiarity to the cast while Christina Applegate works as the film’s narrator and does a wonderful job. However, it is Diego Luna in the role of Manolo, our tragic hero, that shines the brightest.
The film is also filled with popular songs sung by its characters to help tell the story, which I found to be a nice aspect as artists such as Mumford & Sons and Radiohead help the characters tell the story.
But while the film never drags (it’s 95 minutes and well-paced), it never really pops during that time in the ways that made films such as ParaNorman, Coraline and Monster House so memorable. While The Book of Life tells a conventional story, it makes up for it in gorgeous visuals that are a feast and an engaging story that will cater to both children and adults.