The Book of Life

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The Book of Life

A Mexican Day of the Dead themed film animated so all the cast look like hinged wooden puppets, The Book of Life isn’t quite your average kids movie. Of the three kids films covered this issue (all of which involve quests of some kind of another), this is probably the closest to a straight adventure, though there’s plenty of jokes mixed in. When two boys – Manolo (the voice of Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) – both fall for Maria (Zoe Saldana), the spirits of the underworld decide to make a wager on the outcome.
Manolo grows up to be a great bullfighter, though he really wants to be a musician; Joaquin becomes a military hero (which is handy, considering bandits are terrorising the countryside), thanks to a medal one of the gods slipped him that makes him invulnerable to harm. The love triangle that follows is a complex one, with bandit raids, Manolo refusing to kill a bull, marriage proposals, underworld scheming and eventually a trip to the land of the dead, it’s the kind of story that looks over-stuffed when written down, but the central love triangle is strong enough to ensure that you’ll be fine so long as you stay focused on it. Likewise, the animation style is a little too busy in parts – most of the supporting characters seem a little over designed – but as they’re mainly comedy relief they work ok. It’s a decent enough slice of entertainment, but there’s probably a narrow range of kids for whom this’ll work: little kids might be confused, kids old enough to get it might not be far off wanting to watch Fast & Furious 7 instead.