Ok, I know the title of this review may make it seem like I didn’t like this movie or anything. Well that’s not true. I thought this movie was all around good, it’s just that there are some glaring problems that hold it back from being great. Let us look at them shall we?
First and foremost, THIS MOVIE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THE HECK PACING IS! I get these kinds of movies that are supposed to throw as much at the audience as they can comprehend, it’s just that they need to be handled carefully. I think directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have mastered this art very well (for reasons see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs), and I think it manages to be The Book of Life’s greatest strength and greatest weakness. I feel like the maybe the editing department in this movie just cut the lines and the scene’s just a little to close together, maybe add like half a second between scene’s guys, jeez. I just came out of this movie with my head spinning.
The films second biggest problem is story. It feels like this movie just went and cut some tropes out from some kind of holy book of tropes that must be kept in some vault owned by every kids book author ever. You’ve got the father who wants his son to be a man instead of following his dream. You’ve got the girl marrying the guy she doesn’t want to for the good of the people. That’s a shame because some of the stuff in this movie is actually very original.
There’s a very interesting scene near the start of the movie where the main characters father talks to his kid about how Day of the Dead helps us remember our loved ones. This movie is actually really good with describing, from my standpoint, a lot of really cool things about Day of the Dead. I’d say take your kids to see this if you want to teach them more. But that does come with the problem of how sometimes this movie will descend into preachy territory. Particularly when Ice Cube’s character is introduced. But again, trying to stay positive now.
The voice cast is pretty darn good. The standout being Channing Tatum who gives the movies funniest lines. I haven’t seen 21 Jump Street yet, so I wasn’t familiar with just how funny he could be. This movie does stand among one of the funnier movies I’ve seen this year, it’s hard to find a joke that tanked.
But by far the best parts of the movie are the visuals. This is one of the best looking movies I’ve seen this year. The animation has boundless energy, the character designs creative, the scenery is incredibly detailed and fleshed out, it’s just a feast for the eyes the whole way through.
In the end, The Book of Life is pretty good. It’s far from perfect, but seeing as how you probably have nothing else to see this weekend unless you’re seeing Birdman or Fury or something, I’d give this a shot. You may like it.
The Media Fire gives this movie 7.5/10