Gahd, I don’t know why it took me so long to watch this animated film. But I was able to view The Book of Life recently and man, did it just blow me away.
I came into this movie not expecting anything. I’m more lenient with any possible plot holes with animated films precisely because they’re animated. Anything can happen! 🙂
The movie was first shown in theatres around the world Halloween of 2014. Sadly, it didn’t make the cut in the Philippines, which probably explains why I didn’t get to watch it until much, much later – a fact that I regret a lot!
The story starts with a bunch of misfit children heading their way to a museum. A confident tour guide brings them into a secret (probably forbidden) area and introduces them to The Book of Life – the book that holds all the stories in the world.
The story she decides to tell them is about a small village in Mexico, San Angel, where they celebrate the Day of the Dead by remembering loved ones who have passed. It is during this time that La Muerte, the Ruler of the Land of the Remembered, and Xibalba, the Ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, wager their kingdoms on the lives and fate of three childhood best friends – Maria, Manolo, and Joaquin.
I don’t want to talk too much about the plot because I would recommend you guys to just see it for yourselves. I’m still in awe of the entire thing! It’s such a well-made movie!
The first thing I noticed was the character design and animation. It’s adorable, gorgeous, and has such amazing play of color. 🙂 I loved the Land of the Remembered the most, it was so vibrant and exciting! There’s no terrifying way the movie is presented – even with such scary characters and settings such as Xibalba and his Land of the Forgotten.
Beyond the adventures, the love story, the songs, and how they tried to incorporate women empowerment via Maria, the lessons imparted were touching and memorable ones.
The love and honor that abounds in a family’s traditions, pure and true love that goes beyond life or death, the idea that life will definitely get back at you when you try to cheat your way through it, all these lessons are a great way to teach children about, well, life. It’s a good reminder for adults, too! 🙂
But I think the best part about The Book of Life is how they presented the idea of death. That really got me. It presents death in an easy way for children to understand, that the Day of the Dead was about celebrating the lives lived by your loved ones, that they’re never really gone, and that, “as long as we remember them we can feel their presence one more time.”
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