Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Book of Life

Movie Name: The Book of Life
Year of Release: 2014
Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Stars: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Kate Del Castillo, Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo, Carlos Alazraqui, Ana de la Reguera, Placido Domingo
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy, Romance
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 7

"The Book of Life" is director Jorge R. Gutierrez's first full length feature, after a career as a character designer, and it comes with the association of acclaimed director Guillermo Del Toro, who acts as a producer on this feature. The film follows the story of Manolo, Maria and Joaquin, three young friends, who grow up in the same small town, and whose family heritage forces them to pursue different paths as they grow up. When they reunite, all grown up, Manolo and Joaquin are both enamored of Maria, who is more inclined to be united with Manolo. However the interference of otherworldly forces may change their fates and those of the small town where they all live.
"The Book of Life" is a film that lives from the cultural heritage of it's director, Jorge R. Gutierrez, namely the Mexican culture, specifically the events that surround the day of the dead holiday. The film is luxuriously designed, featuring beautiful character design, and an aesthetic and animation that are simply stunning and unique. Where the film does indeed lose some of it's sparkle is in the way the story has been developed. The co-existence of multiple worlds, is reminiscent of Tim Burton's "Corpse Bride", but adds extra layers and characters that though interesting, don't feel sufficiently explored and developed. The usage of well known pop songs (very much like Baz Luhrmann's and Sofia Coppola's style), adds an air of levity to the film, which is also peppered with a giddy sense of humor. A film worth watching.