"What IS it About Mexicans and Death?"
Unfortunately, there’s some glaring mistakes made in the creation of this film that make it impossible for me to love as much as I would like. There’s a LOT going on, at least five subplots that I can name off the top of my head, and while the film does a good job of blending these plots together to make a cohesive story, it does so at the expense of good pacing. Especially in the last half hour, the film runs along at breakneck speed, feeling the need to cram jokes down the audience’s throat. The film also employs a HORRIFYINGLY trite narrative device; the main story is told to a group of elementary school delinquents who are meant to act as stand-ins for children who might be watching the film. This device is not only unnecessary, it feels almost insulting. The source material for “The Book of Life” is rich and largely untapped, and by filtering it through an American (and, let’s face it, primarily white) lens, the audience is robbed of the chance to immerse themselves in the culture the story is based around. Coupled with the anachronistic mariachi covers of top 40 hits that litter the film, all this extra layer did was take me out of the story being told, a story that’s strong enough to speak for itself.
“The Book of Life” comes very close to being an amazing film. If the studio learns to trust its viewers, and therefore trust itself, it could put out something really special in the next few years. I, for one, look forward to it.
Uh, what else? Tequila. Lots of it. Wine's probably fine, too, but make sure it's a good Spanish stock.
-Drink whenever Joaquin mentions moustaches
-Drink whenever the camera focuses on Manolo's guitar. Drink twice if it focuses on the inscription
-Drink whenever a cover of a well-known pop song plays
-Drink for bull-fighting
-Drink whenever the film cuts back to the museum (you'll need it).
This review was written by Hollis Beck (Krissy Pappau). "The Book of Life" is produced by Reel FX Animation Studios and distributed by 20th Century Fox. The film is rated "PG" with a runtime of 95 minutes.