Entertainment Hive 2017

The Book of Life

Review by Honey B

Director: Jorge R Gutierrez

Cast: Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Cheech Marin Plot: The Book of Life, a vibrant fantasy-adventure, tells the legend of Manolo, a conflicted hero and dreamer who sets off on an epic quest through magical, mythical and wondrous worlds in order to rescue his one true love and defend his village. Verdict: Produced by Guillermo del Torro, The Book of Life celebrates the Mexican Day of the Dead but it is far from morbid. This film is visually spectacular and it is very much in the vein of Tim Burton's The Night Before Christmas. The marionette-inspired characters are beautifully realised and the theme is overflowing with romanticism as the two lead characters vie for the heart of the beautiful, rich and feisty maiden, Maria (voiced by Zoe Saldana). In one corner is Manolo (Diego Luna) the bull-fighting musician and in the other corner is Joaquin (Channing Tatum) the bandit-fighting town hero. The fierce threesome were torn apart when a young Maria was sent away to boarding school and when the young lady returns, so does the romance for both of the boys. But little do the trio know that a wager has been placed upon them by bickering underworld gods La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) who rule the joyous Land of the Remembered and the dark Land of the Forgotten respectively. The bets have been placed on who will win Maria's hand in marriage. Of course, Xibalba does not play by the rules and he tricks Manolo who ends up dead in the Land of the Remembered. Manolo's path is a dangerous one to return to the land of the living, save the town and the girl. It's wonderful to see Manolo embraced by his long dead family members and this story, while about the dead, is full of life. The story can be a bit overflowing at times but when it focuses on our three young heroes it really sings. The music throughout the piece is also quite spectacular and moving especially the songs sung by Manolo who works his magic through beautiful versions of Creep by Radiohead and I Will Wait For You by Mumford and Sons. This is a true Mexican feast full of life, colour and magic.
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