In the spirit of the upcoming Halloween this month, I think it would appropriate to dive into another version of All Hallow's Eve in Mexico...Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos.
Despite the macabre name, it was actually a heartwarming day of family and friends gather to remember those who are no longer among the living, offering food, wine, toys, even memories. Each one hoping one day to reunite in the next life.
The world is made of stories...and all of those stories are located in the Book of Life.
In a small Mexican town of San Angel, on the Day of the Dead, there lived three childhood friends, Manolo, Joaquin, and Maria. Manolo and Joaquin both loved Maria, and would do anything for her. But unknown to them, they would find themselves having the weight of the world upon their shoulders when two rulers of the afterlife made a wager. Thus creating a fairy tale unlike any other...
Directed by Jorge Gutierrez of El Tigre and produced by the ever so awesome Guillermo del Toro, the Book of Life is a masterpiece when it comes with the art style. The main story was told like it was a puppet show with the joints to the wooden-like texture of the skin, along with Gutierezz's unique art style in certain scenes. Not to mention that it was well balanced when it comes with not only romance, but also action, mythology, folk tale, and also comedy. I think it was rather well-done with some modern references. The songs, both original and popular, is spectacular. My absolute favorite is the Apology Song, it really torn my heart asunder. I was this close to crying.
The characters are also solid, and most of them are well-rounded and have some unique hidden depths. Manolo while a gifted bullfighter is a skilled musician and singer, and Joaquin is the typical glory hound but all he wanted was to make his friends happy. Maria, she is just awesome.
If I have to pick favorites, it would be La Muerte and Xiabalba. Two reasons.
One. They're awesomely designed. La Muerte takes inspiration from the sugar skulls and Calvera Catrina, and it definitely shows. I couldn't help but admire the details on her design, giving off the illusion that she is a walking sugar lady! Or should I say Sugababe? xD She is an Angel with a Sweet Face. And Xiabalba is just awesome, made out of tar and something oily, with wings that would make Sephiroth jealous. Not only that, his face just screams out Discord of MLP: Friendship is Magic. It must be the beard.
Two. Ron Perlman. Nuff said.
Three. They're just so adorable together, I would just die!
...Wait that's three reasons. DERPY DOO~ xP
And I would like to add that the twins are my favorites as well. Let's just leave it at that.
The voice cast was stellar as always. I was surprised that I would hear Zoe Saldana's pipes in this film! Once again, she had nailed the action girl, from space to Mexico
. And Channing Tatum once again redeemed himself from G.I. Joe films with not only voicing Superman in the Lego Movie but also as the glory hound Joaquin. There are even cameos from the director and the producer as well...and...Grey DeLesile?! Ice Cube the rapper?!?
...And Ron. Fucking. Perlman.
I have to admit, I only have Spanish blood and I learn Dia de Los Muertos back in high school but the thought of paying respects to not only your closest family and friends but also the entire family tree, it was just as heartwarming as Christmas. This film is just...beautiful, and really well thought out. It was amazing that it was supposed to be a DreamWorks film but due to creative differences, it didn't take off. I'm really glad that Reel FX Creative Studios managed to fish this out, otherwise it would be wondering in the Land of the Forgotten.
I highly recommend anyone to take a gander at this...whether you are an animation fan, of Mexican descent, whatever. This is definitely a story to remember.
I give this film 10 Sugar Skulls out of 10 with 1 Churro.
So, who's up for Taco Tuesday?