Flash Movie Review: The Book of Life

As you turn the page of the novel you find an old photograph stuck between the pages. You see a younger you floating across a lake on an inner tube. Immediately memories flood your mind, flushing into your eyes as you can see and remember how the water was so cool and clear on that hot summer day. Absently you scratch your arm in the same spot where you had that reaction to the bug bite you got when you came out of the water. Besides the common things like photographs or hand-me-down objects that trigger one’s memory, I have always been fascinated with how the mind responds to what seems like random items to stimulate a memory. I can hear a couple of musical notes in a certain order and I get catapulted to a wide white concert hall where a full orchestra is in the middle of playing a romantic symphony. When driving through a densely tree lined street, images of a deceased relative well up into my consciousness because they had given me my first ride in a convertible car. The way the sunlight filters through the leaves, creating sparks across my windshield, reminds me of the car ride we had gone on. He had driven us down a long stretch of road so I could feel how the air would whoosh by me, tickling my ears. It seems as if memories of past relatives grow sweeter and softer as I grow older.    DEATH was a place filled with celebrations, happiness and good food in this animated adventure film. Diego Luna (Milk, Elysiom) voiced Manolo, a man who was willing to die for Maria, voiced by Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Guardians of the Galaxy). He would have to fight his way through the dead and living worlds if he had any hope of seeing her again. The cool thing about this movie was the way the writers took the subject of death and turned it into a less scary place. I believe the story was based on the holiday Day of the Dead, though I am not familiar with it. For that reason I may have been at a disadvantage in the way I interpreted this movie. Granted some could consider this an odd idea for a children’s film and it did cross my mind as well. I understand how much easier death would be if we were taught to look at it as a celebratory passage in time and this picture did its best in that regard. The writers treated the subject with sensitivity which I could appreciate. However, I did not find anything special or unique about this picture. Yes the visuals were fun to watch and some of the dialog was cute, but I certainly wasn’t blown away like I had been with other animated films. After a short time has passed, I doubt I will have any memories left of me having seen this animated comedy.


2 1/2 stars

About moviejoltz

From a long line of movie afficionados, one brother was the #1 renter of movies in the country with Blockbuster, I am following in the same traditions that came before me. To balance out the long hours seated in dark movie theaters, I also teach yoga and cycling. For the past 3 years, I have correctly picked the major Oscar winners... so join me as we explore the wonder of movies and search for that perfect 4 star movie.

Posted on October 23, 2014, in Fantasy/Sci-Fi and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Fair point about how this film manages to present death and the dead for kids – that was pretty well done. I just thought they tried to cover too much ground here, and the end result is muddled.

  2. aguywithoutboxers

    I have a very simple mind. I really enjoyed this feature, as did my 6 year old nephew. Thank you! Much love and naked hugs! )

  3. My kids and I love edgier animated movies, things like ‘Frankenweenie’ and ‘Paranorman’ and we absolutely adore ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’. We also love the aesthetic of Dia de los Meurtos. Therefore, when we saw the posters for this movie, we all got quite excited and I planned on taking the kids to see it for my birthday treat. However, I saw a trailer for the movie when we went to see ‘Box Trolls’ and I was underwhelmed. The visuals look fantastic but the story just seemed a bit slight and the characters didn’t seem particularly strong or interesting. I thought that might just be down to a poorly executed trailer but I rather suspect, based on your review, that the film is just a bit mediocre. Perhaps we will see something else for my birthday instead. Any other kid-friendly movies out at the moment or imminently?

    • I am afraid not; it is Oscar season so most of the films coming out now are the heavier guns. May I suggest Hugo or Jean Cocteau’s Sleeping Beauty, both reviewed here. If I think of anything else, I will let you know. BTW most of the children’s movies I review should be under the fantasy category. Good luck and a happy, healthy birthday to you. May you get unexpected fun surprises on your special day.

  4. Hey thanks for the like.

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