The Book of Life is a 2014 animated movie that truly is something quite special. These days, The Book of Life unfairly gets compared to the 2017 masterpiece from Disney Coco. While I think Coco is the better movie, this is still a fun and interesting watch with a great voice cast, soundtrack, and a truly unique look too.
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The Movie Review
We have three childhood friends Manalo, Joaquin, and Maria. These are the best of friends, but they go their separate ways when Maria goes to Europe to study. Manalo has dreams of becoming a musician, but his family is dead against this as they want him to become a bullfighter which is a tradition in his family.
Joaquin is a bit rougher around the edges and he is training really hard as he wants to become a military officer. Years later, Maria returns home and both Manalo and Joaquin are in love with her and want to win her heart. I like the whole dynamic between the three characters and think that there is a lot here for adults as well as kids.
This “romance” though is far from simple. The twist to this love triangle is that we have two deities in La Muerta who is the mistress of the Land of the Remembered and Xibalba, master of the Land of the Forgotten involved. These two have a bet on who will win Maria’s heart and on the Day of the Dead, they interfere and things get out of hand.
It results in a wild adventure where the characters end up on a journey that takes them from the land of the living to the land of the dead. It is very fun stuff, but there is also a real serious side to the movie which I liked. I liked the relationship between Manalo and Joaquin and think there was a lot of depth to it. Actually, the whole movie has a lot of depth to it when it comes to the plot.
One thing we have to talk about is the incredible way that The Book of Life looks. The characters have an almost wooden style about them and it makes for something that is very unique. I love the whole “Mexican” style of the visuals here, the colors and imagery that are used truly do pop from the screen. Even the better part of a decade later, the visuals in this movie still hold up.
As well as being a treat for the eyes, this movie has an incredible voice cast. We have Diego Luna as Manalo, Channing Tatum as Joaquin, and Zoe Saldana as Maria. The supporting cast is great too! Also, the musical numbers here are great with a tremendous original score and Mexican-style version of some popular licensed music thrown in as well.
I think that it is a real shame that The Book of Life cannot be talked about without it being compared to Coco. Both are fantastic movies and both are fun no matter how many times you watch them. If you still have never checked out this movie, I highly recommend that you do, I have not met anyone who has seen this that did not enjoy it.
- It is awesome how Diego Luna voices both the English and Spanish versions of this movie
- I really liked the dynamic between the three main characters
- Visually, this is an absolutely beautiful movie
- The plot is very smart and not just aimed at kids
- I know that comparing it to Coco is unfair, but I do think Coco is the better “Day of the Dead” movie
- This movie would look gorgeous in 4K…. so why is there no 4K version of it?