The Book of Life

October 17, 2014135 min

Stories can be useful for so many reasons. They help us remember things or they can be used to teach you the difference between right and wrong. Everyone remembers as children how we all looked forward to being read a story before we went to bed. While no one is reading us stories anymore, you can say movies have become that story time we enjoyed as a kid. Just like then, we have our favorites, and of course the ones we rather never hear again. We also get the added benefit of the visual aspect that makes the story come to life, now only if we could get great stories the that the whole family can love.

Disney has always done story time right, and in the last twenty years other studios have figured it out, and if you grew up in the last twenty years you have had a pretty cool childhood full of great movies. With such a high quality of animated films to choose from you have to be something special to stand out; does “Book of Life” have that special something? Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoe Saldana) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) are three friends that are always together. It is easy to see that Manolo and Joaquin are also destined to fall in love with Maria; the only question is whom she will choose. Below the surface world there exist two realms, one is for those who are remembered, while the other is the place the forgotten go. They are ruled by La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Pearlman) who more than anything wants to rule the land of the remembered and convinces La Muerte to place a wager on who will win Maria’s heart. Not being someone who plays fair Xibalba cheats a little to get the upper hand only to have one of the two boys prove his worth and foil Xibalba’s plan and win Maria’s heart.

“Book of Life” is a colorful and vibrant film that actually one of the few movies worth seeing in 3D. While the movie starts off strong, exploring a new and fun story, it fails to keep that feeling as the film moves into its second half. The people behind that story are writers Jorge R Gutierrez and Douglas Langdale, with Gutierrez also directing the film. The movie looks beautiful and is a treat for your eyes, and for half the film it is also a treat for your ears, but then it turns into a story that you have seen before, many, many times before. We like our fairy tells and we like our happy endings, but what we perceive as a happy ending is not everyone’s happy ever after and it should be ok to try something different. Overall this is an enjoyable film, and fun for the whole family, but if you are taking little kids be warned, there are some parts that might scare them a little. With that in mind enjoy this film, for it teaches to write your own story, and that is never a bad thing.

 

Brian Taylor

 

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