The Book of Life

This lovingly ornate animation produced by Guillermo del Toro (‘Pacific Rim’) explores the strong links between Mexican culture and the deceased. It opens with a museum tour explaining Mexico’s annual Day of the Dead festival, then plunges into an afterlife where the departed thrive in the colourful Land of Remembrance or languish in the ashen Land of the Forgotten.

It might be a bit complicated for very young kids. But there’s a love story by way of illustration, as a musician (Diego Luna) and a soldier (Channing Tatum) vie for the hand of a strong-willed señorita (Zoe Saldana). With a captivating visual design inspired by folksy wooden toys, the whole enchilada is brightly detailed, exuberant and simply bursting with winning cultural pride.

Not dissimilar in merrily ghoulish spirit to ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, it’s hugely entertaining. The life-and-death lessons might seem slightly preachy, but where else would you find super-cute piggies, a bishop in a wrestling mask and a laugh-out-loud Radiohead gag?

Release details

Release date: Friday October 24 2014
Duration: 95 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jorge R. Gutierrez
Screenwriter: Jorge R. Gutierrez
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