The Book of Life  (2014)    67/100

Rating :   67/100                                                                       95 Min        U

From Dallas based Reel FX Creative Studios whose last output was the dire ‘Free Birds‘, the creative team behind this, led by director and co-writer Jorge R. Gutierrez, were determined to match the adroitness of their concept art with the visual splendour of the final film, and I think they can congratulate themselves on a job well done as I don’t believe I have ever seen an animated movie quite so colourfully rich and involved as this one, easily the film’s best selling point. Voiced comfortably by a cast including Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Kate del Castillo, Ron Perlman and Ice Cube, this tells a story from the Book of Life, a book which contains all stories, of a love triangle involving two young male friends and the local beauty, also the general’s daughter, naturally, in the Mexican village of San Angel – a recipe for disaster that the spirit rulers of the Land of the Remembered and the Land of the Forgotten place bets upon, but over the years which one will win the hand of the fair lady, and what will the consequences be? It’s good fun, with its own take on lots of modern songs (at least two of which appear in The Red Dragon’s first playlist, so they obviously have good taste …) but unfortunately it tries to take the main characters on too many journeys and the central concept ends up meandering as a result, leading to a very average finale. Overall a warm and heartfelt endeavour though.

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