Movie Review: The Book of Life

The Book of Life

This movie is adorable from start to finish. But seriously what the hell is up with the drawing style for this movie. Pretty much everyone has a horrible looking gherkin type thing for a nose.

If I had to summarise this movie and the man with a gun the my head says I do I’d say it’s a story about conflicts between gods, wagers involving man as their plaything and a whole lot of Mexico.

There is nothing inaccurate about that description although it suggest nothing of the heart that this movie has or the singing….oh god the singing.

You really do root for the characters whether it’s the rebellious Maria, brash but brave Joaquin or the sensitive Manolo. Each of them wins you over in some way during the movie.

Maria in particular is impressive she’s a strong and attractive female character not defined by a man and more than capable on her own right. Which Is something not a lot of movies manage.

If I had to pick a tagline for this movie and oh look There’s the man with the gun again I’d probably pick: “No retreat no surrender”

Truly words to live by….don’t you agree?

The movie sets up fairly early the love between these three children and the destiny which lies before each of them and the Journey is seeing whether they follow the future written for them or whether they make their own stories.

I will say this again and again the music for this movie. The entire soundtrack is phenomenal. And I have all the songs on my phone to listen to when I need a quick pick me up. Music is important to the story as well because it’s Manolos passion and he is the real heart of the movie.

I really do love musical transitions for characters aging, reminds me of lion king.

Also I have a soft spot for comic animal sidekicks. Talking or otherwise. Chewey the pig joins the Likes of iago from Aladdin and the gecko from tangled and he does a great job as well. On the right side of annoying.

Granny Sanchez is a genius.

This film really portrays the weight of expectations and duty. As wakin says “those are some big shadows we live under eh buddy”

Also when talking about Joaquin I keep forgetting that channing Tatum is in this it’s just so weird. He was good though.

I’m a sucker for a good hero, someone pure of heart who does the right thing not out of duty or because it’s what is expected but because he feels it in his core so I really identified with Manolo as I expect you were supposed to but there’s a lot to be said of Wakin. He might be cocky and with an over inflated sense of ego but he was given power from a god and he used it to protect people sure he did it for glory but there’s no selfless good deed because they make us feel good and he spent the better part of his youth protecting the innocent.

Best line in the movie by far: I’m allergic to dying….especially in the face.

Wakin might be badass because of his medal but I will admit manolos bullfighting is impressive. It’s easy to see why his family have been revered as bullfighters for centuries.

Despite the Mexican locale and the obviously wrong time period I liked hearing Manolos rendition of creep by Radiohead.

Speaking of which Maybe I’ve been ruined by musicals but I also believe a good song can really solve anything. And I love the songs coming out of this. The really reach you, the familiar get you singing along and the original tracks are engaging on a whole other level

I like that she rejects his first kiss. Shows she’s still her own person and we don’t get a typical resolution he has to earn her affection even if in the end they are meant for each other

Something that occurs the me each time i watch the movie though there’s a scene where manolo lights hundreds of candles for a bit of romance. First off where did he get them, secondly how did he find any time to light a few hundred of them and finally why the hell didn’t the bridge he lined them across catch fire…he could have literally burned his bridges. As well as the entire town if he was unlucky.

Another bad idea for lighting candles outside is zero protection from the elements something he realises when the heavens open up and rain pours to the earth. In fairness I doubt he was too worried about it at the time because (spoilers ahead) he held Maria in his arms screaming at her apparent death. Also side point I love that moment it’s the perfect cinematic masterpiece because with her gone Manolos own light has been extinguished.

I loved the meeting between manolo and his dearly departed family. They are an eclectic and funny bunch in their own right and each parrots the words of their family about honour and bullfighting but in the end they still embrace their own self.

Speaking of bullfighting many might not have the heart to kill a bull but he certainly has balls because he challenged an actual god face to face.

The maze scene is important shows that while he might not have liked it his Sanchez bullfighting skills saved his life.

Something that occurred to me considering the whole Mexican mythos why is the candle maker so white and beardy? He is funny though he reminds me of the genie minus robin williams charm.

The land of the forgotten is terrifying I’d hate to ever be forgotten but to know if you are you suffer and then just disappear is even worse.

I loved the final bullfight in the land of the forgotten firstly because it reaks of a boss battle but secondly because he makes up for all the harm his family has caused by bullfighting and earned forgiveness.

Also the song he sings is so touching. Instead of fighting he sings from his heart.

Also why the hell is the bandit king like monstrously huge? Sure he had the medal but he’s still human.

This movie at its core is about bravery. Not to fight but to live as you want no matter what and to be kind in an judgemental world.

Also points to manolo for the most badass entrance ever. All the way from the afterlife for one uppercut.

Wakin even gets his moment trying to protect manolo by giving him his medal and being willing to sacrifice himself. As he puts it ‘no more living beneath shadows’

The book of life is all about the stories and writing your own and it’s a lovely little film that I suggest everyone watch at some point. I think I’ll rate this an 8/10.


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