Get Newest Movies in HD Quality

Reviews for The Book of Life ( 2014 )

Aggressively charming and visually creative (IMDB: 9)

On: 1/27/2015 12:00:00 AM By: brchthethird
THE BOOK OF LIFE is produced by Guillermo del Toro, directed by Jorge Gutierrez, and features an outstanding voice cast to tell its story of true love (along with a generous helping of Mexican culture). The basic plot is about two boys, Joaquin (Diego Luna) and Manolo (Channing Tatum), who vie for the affections of a girl, Maria (Zoe Saldana). As people they're fairly opposite, with Manolo being a musician at heart (his family's profession is bullfighter) and Joaquin being a soldier who does great deeds of derring-do. Unbeknownst to them, however, Lady Muerte and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) have entered into a wager about which of them can win the heart of Maria and it sets Manolo on a journey that will take him to both realms of the dead. First, I should say that the character design, animation and overall look of the film was extremely creative and visually unique, befitting a Guillermo del Toro production. The colors popped and everything in the world of the film was brought to vibrant life. The voice cast was equally impressive, although there were a couple of people who took me out of it for a little bit before getting sucked back into the story. The biggest offender was probably Ice Cube, who voices the Candlemaker, although they did stick in a couple of good jokes and references for him. I also got taken a little bit out of the story by realizing that Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin also voiced characters in the film, but again, they still did great work here. Another high point was the music. The score was pretty good, but what really stood out was the use of modern pop songs in what is (mostly) a period piece set at an indeterminate time in the past. Of course, I didn't mind that one bit at all. I also thought that the first half to two-thirds of the story were excellent. It succeeded telling an emotionally moving story with plenty of interesting characters, but at a certain point it resorted to the standard climax and resolution that wrapped up everything with a nice little bow. And despite much of the humor working, at times I felt it was a little too silly for its own good. Still, at the end I was completely won over. Had I seen this last year, I'm fairly certain it would have made my top ten. As it stands, this was an incredibly charming and visually rich film that should appeal to kids and adults alike, and also serves as a valuable cultural lesson.

Best animated film - a must see & a true masterpiece! (IMDB: 10)

On: 11/21/2014 12:00:00 AM By: darlingdearlove
This movie was absolutely stunning and for many reasons - from the characters, to the designs in their clothing, the different lands, the gods, everything was just so pleasing to look at.

I felt that the character development was immaculate. As I was watching, I had become very attached to each character and it was so easy to be fully immersed in the story. You went through all the emotions and feelings with the cast, and the voice acting was just so very believable.

Diego Luna's singing was captivating as you didn't have to question if his emotion was real. The music itself was gorgeous and deserves so much recognition, I especially enjoyed the mariachi renditions, I found them fun and catchy, some even better than the originals. There is a modern mix of songs but I have to say it was complimentary to the plot and was what I would consider a little something for the adults in the audience.

The story was something you would think Walt Disney himself would have given a thumbs up for. The plot and overall story telling was phenomenal. There was something for everyone - romance, comedy, heart warming moments, and action as well as adventure all nestled into a positive message you can take away from it.

In summation, this movie deserves many awards as it embodies the whole package. It was outstandingly well made and thought out, and the casting was wonderful. I hope that it receives all the recognition it deserves. I recommend this film to everyone and I will most definitely be picking up my copy when it is released. I feel as though this movie far surpasses any of the most recent Disney films, with Beauty and the Beast being the only contender. I rate this movie 10/10

Spectacular (IMDB: 9)

On: 10/24/2014 12:00:00 AM By: Figgy66-915-598470
24 October 2014 Film of Choice at The Plaza Dorchester This Morning - The Book of Life. An unusual animation from the stable of Jorge R Gutierrez. Joaquin, Maria and Manolo are best friends who are torn apart when Maria is sent to Europe to calm her wild ways. The two boys are both in love with her and when she returns, they compete for her affections unaware their lives are being controlled by the two Lords of the Underworlds, who have set a wager on the outcome of their love triangle. La Muerta is the mistress of the beautiful and vibrant Land of The Remembered, whilst Xibalba is the discontented ruler of the Land of The Forgotten. The characters were portrayed as wooden puppet style people, yet when they entered the Land of The Remembered they became exquisitely carved skeletons. The animation was amazing. Apart from all the characters in in three lands I found myself avidly watching the backgrounds. The colours were so vibrant and the details were so beautifully worked. This film was set around the Mexican Day of The Dead and the whole feel of it came across as one glorious fiesta. Another animation triumph and a spectacular musical score to match.

Perfect for kids but even better for adults (IMDB: 10)

On: 10/20/2014 12:00:00 AM By: abisio
First lets; clarify; I am not Mexican nor any in my family and friend group; however it has been a long long time since we catch kids movie able to captivate 5,6,7 or 8 year old girls and boy and the parents that took them. Just the quality, colors and artistry of the images; makes the movie worth; but the subject matter is even more impressive. How many times you were able to really laugh on a subject matter like death and make children (and adults) happy with an adventure that is pure entertainment but also gives a quite poetic look at life and dead. In brief; take your children to see it as an excuse; you probably will enjoy it even more. Forget PIXAR formula products; this is just a masterpiece

A real Halloween treat (IMDB: 8)

On: 10/19/2014 12:00:00 AM By: bbickley13-921-58664
Book of life is one of the most colorful and original set designs I have every seen in an animated movie, especially in that is CGI animation.

This movie toke a real surrealistic style to the character design in order to pay homage to Mexican culture.

It's a classic fairy tale being told in a story within a story manner, with a museum tour guide telling a group of kids a fairy tale of three children who lives will effect the center of the universe, aka Mexico, when Gods gamble on what type of people they would be as adults.

Although as a semi-musical, the Glee approach in mixing in original content with contemporary hits kind of lessened the originality of the flick, but as a whole the movie was quite entertaining.

Proud Showcase of Mexican Culture (IMDB: 8)

On: 10/19/2014 12:00:00 AM By: 3xHCCH
Musical Manolo, scrappy Joaquin and smart Maria are three close childhood pals. Maria gets sent to Europe to study. Joaquin gets seriously into training as a military officer. Manolo is discouraged by his father from his musical aspirations, forcing him instead to take up bullfighting, which is the traditional Sanchez family occupation. When Maria returns to town after several years, Joaquin and Manolo vie for her heart.

Meanwhile, the two lords of the underworld, La Muerta (mistress of the Land of the Remembered) and Xibalba (master of the Land of the Forgotten) take a bet as to who Maria will end up with. On the Day of the Dead, the deities interfere with the outcome, leading to an adventure which will bring the characters from the land of the living to the land of the dead and back.

The most striking feature of this film is the animation style. The human characters are made to look like wooden puppets. This artworks were so ingeniously crafted such that each character is distinct from each other. The three main human characters all look very good and noble. The supporting characters are rather on the ugly, distorted side in their rendition, and these may need getting used to.

The background artwork is no less spectacular. The highlight of the whole film are those scenes in the Land of the Remembered, showing it as a happy bustling and festive place. The colors were so vibrant and rich. The multi-layered designs were so intricate and meticulous in their endemically Mexican-inspired details.

Another wonderful feature of this film is the musical score, written by Argentine composer Gustavo Santaolalla. This musician has been awarded the Oscar two times before for films "Babel" and "Brokeback Mountain." The soundtrack also employs the most unexpected pop songs, sung Mexican style of course. Hearing a familiar song being sung makes me smile and even sing along. The sensitive singing voice of Diego Luna (as Manolo) makes songs as diverse as Radiohead's "Creep" to Elvis' "Can't Help Falling in Love" sound so good.

I believe this film had a lot of educational value in it for the young audience it targets. There are a lot of Latino values being tackled here about friendship and family, the status of women, the respect for the dead, etc., which are likewise universal as well, more often than not. It also introduces us, both kids and adults alike, to the vibrant Mexican culture, especially about their Day of the Dead.

The pace of the film was slow at first, but once you get into its groove, you will surely enjoy the eventful ride. My two sons with me, as well as the much younger kids in the theater with us, all seemed to enjoy the film very much as you hear a lot of gleeful laughter at the some of the shallower jokes. This was despite the rather macabre subject matter and several grotesque-looking (albeit in a comical way) characters. It also had humorous moments that only adults would chuckle at.

Aside from Diego Luna, the line-up of voice actors surprisingly included Zoe Saldana as Maria and Channing Tatum as Joaquin. I would not have guessed. Other familiar names such as Ron Perlman and Christina Applegate are also on board. The most unexpected name I saw on the list though was that of Ice Cube as the sunshiny fluffy underworld character named Candlemaker. Some well-known Latino actors like Hector Elizondo, Danny Trejo and Placido Domingo voice the more mature characters, like Manolo's dad and ancestors.

Overall, "The Book of Life" is a very unique animated feature film. The basic story is based on Mexican folklore and traditions, so the animation style had the colors, designs and style of Mexico. The different look and unfamiliar references may turn off some less adventurous viewers, but really it should not. This is one very educational and very entertaining film for all ages. Writer and Director Jorge R. Gutierrez was able to successfully expand on his experience on Nickelodeon's frenetic award-winning animated series "El Tigre:The Adventures of Manny Rivera" (which he also created) and here proudly showcased his beloved Mexican roots on a much bigger platform. 8/10.

Fantastic Halloween Fun! Superb Animation (IMDB: 9)

On: 10/19/2014 12:00:00 AM By: rgkarim
It's October and it is usually the time for Halloween themed movies. Unfortunately for us, Halloween has been reduced to cheap horrors, or repetitive thrillers that are a bit of a bore. This year has been slightly different, but this reviewer would like the studios to go back in the past and pull some more seasonal themes to entertain us. Well, someone got my vibe, because my last review is on a film that captures the festive fun that Halloween is for the young and young at heart. So sit back my friends and catch my latest review on the animated feature The Book of Life.

I'll start this review with talking about the story. The Book of Life has a fantastic tale that centers on the typical complication of a love triangle between characters Manolo (Diego Luna), Maria (Zoe Saldana), and Joaquin (Channing Tatum). Now we know the typical elements involved in this type of plot, but this film deviates from the typical and gives a little more pep around the story. From the start you get the backstory on each character, and the individual struggles they each face. Then they take these qualities and exploit them by bringing in the two masters of the underworld, who make a wager as to who will win the girl. The result of this wager, makes for an interesting romantic tale that is fun, emotional, and more realistic than half the dramas we get these days. However, the movie does not stop there, instead it ties in an adventure and blends it into all the aspects, making for a fun film. Once more, the whole tale revolves around the Mexican celebration of the day of the dead, bringing a unique take on the classic Halloween tale and providing a little education as well.

The story isn't the only thing influenced by the Mexican culture though, the artistic style of the movie is also heavily influenced. The Book of Life is sort of a modern day Nightmare Before Christmas where CGI takes the place of stop motion animation. Many of the elements are similar, with the skeletons and landscapes sharp and angular to mirror the darkness of the afterlife. However, unlike Tim Burton, this director chose to liven things up a little by veering from the dark colors and adding wide splashes of colorful. This is not only to catch your eyes, but also to mirror the celebration that Day of the Dead is about and that life doesn't end as long as you are remembered. In the Underworld especially the color comes out, and the festivities are brought to full fold in the magical realm of the dead. Deep in the land of the Forgotten, the oblivion of elimination is presented by a frozen cavern where hope is nonexistent. Regardless, the worlds are diverse and fun, filled with ancient Central American influences that were a welcomed change. Even the characters have pizazz to them, each main character standing out in their own unique way. I in particular liked the Queen of the underworld, impressed with the blend of partying, happy, and death all wrapped into one package. The ruler of the Forgotten Land, was also of unique design, sharp, dark edges in shades of purple, neon green, and crimson to portray the darkness of his soul.

What else makes this movie fun? The next aspect is the comedy, which for the most part is well timed and well delivered. There isn't much unique writing or witty humor in this movie, but more in how it is delivered. Countless puns are shouted in ridiculous voices, often followed by a character face planting into an object. What's even better is that the comedy is also diverse and spread out instead of following the typical style of beating a joke to death, the exception being Joaquin's obsession with mustaches. In addition to the comedy, the music also brings some thing to the film. Most of the numbers are covers of famous songs, some done horribly to be funny and others that are very relevant to the plot. A couple of the original numbers made my emotions go on a ride, as happiness, sadness, and even love all came together in the instruments and voice. Now most won't find it as powerful as Frozen, but for this reviewer it was nice having the music around the movie, not the opposite way around. Aside from the singing, the voice acting is incredible, each of the cast capturing the essence of the stereotypical Mexican character. Now there are too many to write about so let me pick my three favorites. First is Christina Applegate, the girl has got sass, spunk, and compassion all at work in her tour guide character. The girls sells the story as she uses the wooden puppets, which are represented in the character design, to craft the tale, keeping the kids in line, and yet showing empathy. Then there was Zoe Saldana who has the feisty Mexican girl zest that shows everyone girls don't need men to save them. Her voice is suave and full of passion, and exactly the buffer needed amidst the rowdy, rough voices of the cast. Finally the Queen of the Dead was my favorite character, and Kate del Castillo does a nice job bringing the character to life with flare, kindness, and the ability to hold her own.

What can you take away from my sporadic rambling? The Book of Life is one of the better animated films I've seen in a while. It's Halloween fun, with colorful worlds and characters that balance out the predictable and limited tale. I strongly recommend seeing this movie in theaters, possibly in 3-D. I haven't had this much fun at the movies in quite some time, and I believe most will enjoy the adventure at hand. My scores for this film are:

Animation/Adventure/Comedy: 9.5 Movie Overall: 9.0

Don't miss this special animated film! (IMDB: 9)

On: 10/15/2014 12:00:00 AM By: joey_cade
This is a beautiful animated film. Very unique in comparison to other animated films out there. I loved that it had funny parts - for adults as well as kids - but it isn't a silly comedy. It is a gorgeous, epic folkloric tale of family, tradition and finding your own way. I laughed and cried, and my kids loved it as much as I did. My kids (ages 3.5 and 5.5) both were entranced and never got bored or scared watching this film. For families: it wasn't scary at all. I worried maybe the "skeleton" painted Day of the Dead characters may be creepy but they weren't at all. The sets and characters were all very beautiful and unique. The Land of the Remembered was especially visually stunning. I found it especially touching as a parent of young kids with numerous generations in "our village" helping raise my kids and help carry each other through life's highs and lows. I was reminded by this film of the importance of all the generations that came before us - how we are shaped by our families. How we learn from and must respect those who came before us. That was a nice message for me and my kids. But, it also shows that, while we respect, learn from and inherit gifts from our fore-bearers, we also have a responsibility to be true to ourselves, to make our own way and find our true calling. It was also touchingly romantic. It felt very genuine and warm throughout but the sweet romantic story was especially touching. You could tell a lot of love went into making this film. I hope it does well - it should on its own merit!