The Book Of Life (Film Review)

Oct 18, 2014
There are two places a person might be after death in Jorge R. Guttierez's 'The Book of Life'. The first one is called "The Land of the Remembered", where people are lively, colorful, and a pleasant fun to watch. But the other place is referred to as by "The Land of the Forgotten": forgettable, deserted and sad. These two represent what this movie actually feels like: lively and grandiose, yet forgettable. 

'The Book of Life' at first glance looked like another generic animated movie. Yes, it is, during it's first scene where we see a group of kids on a surprise museum visit only to find out they'll be spending a day ONLY to hear a story about a boy and girl. And yes, you can watch the movie without actually seeing like the first 3 minutes of it, because it is unnecessary to almost everything.
The real treat is with the story that is being read.

While the film has a semi-complicated plot, let's get to the actual point of it. Basically La Muerte and Xibalba are on a bet of who will win the heart of Maria: will it either be the singer/bullfighter Manolo or the fighter/ heartthrob Joaquin? The winner of this is set to rule "The Land of the Remembered", while who loses will take "The Land of the Forgotten".
It is not. 'The Book of Life' isn't what you thought it's gonna be. Sure, there will be cliches here and there, but there's something in it that you wanna embrace throughout. The beauty and gorgeousness of the visual effects is a feast on the eyes. The art design and the concept for the two Lands are magnificent. And it sure does look good in 3-D. 

Jorge R. Gutierrez, the guy who created the kids show El Tigre (anyone knows that one?) stepped on to his first feature film, yet does he succeeded in making this movie? Visually, super yes! Other than that, sort of. This movie felt rushed with scenes stuffing in you constantly while you're still digesting the last scene. To add that, a lot of scenes became shy of being forgettable.

The music in this movie, good heavens, the moment Diego Luna started singing Radiohead's "Creep"(mexican style), you knew there will be plenty of cover songs in stored for it's viewers. Bullfighting is a key element with the story in this movie, so "Ecstasy of Gold" is expected to play in sync of these scenes because it's awesome.
The voice actors were good. Diego Luna owns every bit in his scene (he is a fine singer by the way). Same with Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum who obviously cannot do a Mexican accent (you can hear that in '22 Jump Street') still channels his charisma by still being a funny with a American accent in a Mexican-induced film.

'The Book of Life' is visually embracing, kids and possibly adults will adore it. Though it felt a bit rushed and forgettable, it's a pleasant surprise from Jorge R. Guttierez. More or so, a fun time at the movies!

The geek rates it 7/10!

'The Book of Life' is now showing in 3D and 2D theaters distributed by 20th Century Fox Philippines!

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