While I saw this in regular format, I’m sure The Book of Life is a treat to watch in 3D. The movie boasts beautiful animation and gorgeous color palettes all on a smaller budget compared to what Disney and Dreamworks can accomplish and fund. The story boasts a highly cartoony and meta-texual wood figurine stylization (characters losing limbs like the wooden dolls that they are, exposed wood joints, subtle sugar skull texture, paper mache and or wood grain on their skin, etc). It definitely tried its own thing and for that the film is rich and highly ornamental.
It’s not much of a surprise that I really liked Manolo’s descent into the underworlds and the brief Eurydice katabasis narrative which, from what I can infer felt like it originally was meant to be a much larger portion if not bulk of the film? I’m a sucker for descents into the underworld to hunt for a loved one and enjoyed this Mexican take on a classic narrative element.
If you like animated movies you should probably go support this film, particularly on November 1st and 2nd, days of the actual holiday Día de Muertos because I know Big Hero 6 is going to make a boatload of cash and is going to stomp this rather earnest little film out of theaters. Not to say that film’s not going to be good or is undeserving of the hit its going to be (from what I’ve seen it’s actually pretty good compared to Frozen) but Disney certainly doesn’t need a call for viewers.
The Book of Life is a rare example of Mexican culture being shared and showcased so affectionately for the mainstream market, additionally providing much needed diversity for Mexican and Latino children to see. Currently, as of writing this, the film has only made a little over half of its production costs so it definitely needs your money. A less than stellar marketing campaign is hurting this film and it really shouldn’t. We should support these smaller ventures; a more diverse range of perspectives and representation in the mainstream is so much better than blindly submitting to only one or two megaliths who act as our main providers for animation/children’s entertainment. The more we have the richer we’ll be.
Rating: B to B-, this well deserves your support.