[Film Review] THE BOOK OF LIFE




Real love never dies. This is the age old message bought to life in the new colour popping animated film, The Book of Life, directed by Guillermo del Toro. Animations that could be taken from the pages of Picasso and Salvatore Dali’s sketch pads come to live in this age of tale of a love triangle. The beautiful animation sweeps you into it’s colourful world, even though the story has been told before.

‏Inspired by the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead), new release The Book of Life centres around the life long love triangle of out spoken, free spirited Maria, heroic vainglorious Joaqiun (voiced by Channing Tatum) and the hapless romantic singer/bullfighter Manolo (Diego Luna).

‏As told to a group of school students visiting the local museum, a sassy Tour Guide (Christina Applegate) relays the story of the hapless trio. The story is set into motion on the Dia de Muertos when the two Gods of the Underworld, La Muerta (Kate de Castillo) and her love Xibabla (Ron Perlman) make a wager on who will win the hand of the beauty Maria (Zoe Saldana).

‏La Muerta, the ruler of the colourful, Land of the Remembered, places her bet with Manolo whilst Xibabla places his bet on the young Joaquin. As the years pass the two grow into strong young men, but it appears the Xiabala will stop at nothing to win.

‏It seems the path of true love is never smooth, yet somehow Manolo seems set to win the heart of his lady love when the sneaky Xiabala takes matters into his own hands in order to win the bet, tricking Manolo into believing Maria has been killed. He sacrifices his own life to enter the Land of the Remembered where Manolo begins his quest (with the help of his ancestors) to be reunited with his lady.

‏Meanwhile, in the land of the living antagonist Chagal is set to destroy the town and affect the destinies of all those involved. Question is, how will Manolo save things? With a little help from The Candle Maker (Ice Cube) he returns to set things right and save the day.

‏Whilst the story is solid enough even though it is a well-worn theme, it is the folk-art inspired animation that will draw viewers in the animation certainly is unique. The music is quite a treat with Mariachi inspired versions of pop hits such as Mumford and Sons’ ‘I Will Wait’, Radiohead’s ‏’Creep’ and Rod Stewart’s ‘Do You Think I’m Sexy’ to name a few.

‏As with any animated film there are underlying messages throughout the film that will resound with viewers. The message that our loved ones never truly die as long as we remember them is quite prevalent, but the most profound message: Don’t be afraid to be yourself, no matter what.

‏The film is scheduled for an April release in theatres across Australia and if the current fascination with animated films is anything to go by, this film should do quite well at the box office. It is a film that will appeal to both adults and children alike.





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