It's a solid effort, but plenty of bumps along the way. The narrative framing is bland and misses the mark, but once we're in the story, it picks up. There are funny moments (the grandma, anyone?), but the message is heavy and didactic, and it suffers from trying very hard to make all story points end in an uplifting way.
2.5/5. The film undeniably has moments of beauty, and the art direction is not to be scoffed at. As well, there are many instances in which (action) sequences are presented as if there really is a camera, often unseen in animation; effects range from hand-held motion to zoom to tracking, and it works well. That being said, the music, voice acting, predictable plot, and bouts of gaudy imagery are too much to swallow.
Children's animation movies are increasingly drawing their attention to the adult public and this one succeeds at also engaging at this level. Mixing folklore, stereotypes & fascinating visuals, The Book of Life also offers a string of valuable and complex moral lessons hard to find in films of this kind. The film however loses authenticity with the mariachi versions of current chart pop songs but what's not to like?
The first half was nearly unwatchable for me, and I could have done without the cheesy Mariachi takes on English language pop songs (Radiohead, really?!). But the 2nd half (the Underworld scenes) is so breathtakingly gorgeous that you can't hate this movie even if Ice Cube is in it. Bonus points for the Cheech and Chong jokes.
Predictable, yet captivating, this is one of the better animation films of 2014. The visuals are impressive, overflowing with colour, energy and life. Although a Mexican folklore tale, music we know from artists such as Radiohead is not excluded, nor are feminist touches, among others - adding Contemporary to the timeless flavour of the story. Lovely and delightful, truly a fantastic ride!
This is a flawed movie, that's for sure. Narratively is all over the place, the first twenty minutes feel too much like a tv edu-special and it is often not as funny as it thinks it is. But it more than makes up for it in good-hardheartedness and genuine inventiveness. Visually stunning and full with over-the-top mythological drama. It's almost impossible not to love it.
Just remember that death is not the end. One of the year's most wonderful surprises is this fantastically told tale from director Jorge Gutierrez and co-writer Douglas Langdale. Chock full of wonderful ideas and exceptionally voice cast. From the refashioning of pop songs to the 'wink wink' touches for the adults this is a highly elevated so-called kids picture for all the animation buffs out there. Don't miss it.