Monday, October 20, 2014

Review: The Book of Life

Release date: October 17, 2014
Running time: 95 minutes
Starring: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum 
Who to see it with: Your kids or childhood friend


An animated movie from 20th Century Fox from a relatively unknown animation studio, The Book of Life didn't inspire a ton of confidence in me going into the screening. However, what I experienced was a colorful, imaginative, and beautifully animated film. The imagination and creativity shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given the attachment of Guillermo del Toro, but what was surprising was how much I enjoyed it the story.

Starting with the animation, it's absolutely beautiful with some detailed characters and really spectacular touches. The story is told as if being reenacted by puppets, so the characters in the main film all look the part. It's a small touch, but one that definitely helps the overall feel of the movie and the sense of story. Additionally, the style is downright amazing, with vibrant colors and imaginative sets. The movie definitely gets its style from the Mexico inspired setting, which gives you some bright sets and wonderful costumes. 

The story itself is fairly typical kids story, but it is an enjoyable journey with some really fun characters. Although it seems to start with a sexist premise, it ends up being much more than that, with some good lessons for kids about expectations, friendship, and machismo. Additionally, the music is wonderful. The film uses contemporary songs that are redone by the main character, who plays a Spanish guitar. It's a treat to hear a song that you recognize redone in a Latin style, and I was definitely smiling as the film worked some contemporary hits into the story. The Book of Life is a vibrant and imaginative kids movie that will entertain while teaching some valuable lessons.

Watch it.

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