Editor’s note: We all love movies, but rather than ask a syndicated columnist who has never visited our beautiful High Desert, we commissioned our own local movie critic: Nolan P. Smith to review films and give us a local perspective. Enjoy!
By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)—When a film comes out with the name Guillermo del Toro attached to it, people take notice. When the man responsible for the Hellboy films as well as the eerie Pan’s Labyrinth brings a new project to the big screen, fans rejoice. Del Toro, along with director Jorge Gutierrez, bring the world The Book of Life, one of the most visually stunning animated works seen this year.
The Book of Life focuses on just that, a story from The Book of Life, as told to a group of kids at a museum. The tale is about Manolo (Diego Luna), a bull fighter by legacy but a musician by heart. He struggles to win the heart of his longtime crush Maria (Zoe Saldana), but his lifelong friend Joaquin (Channing Tatum) is fighting for the same woman. These three are caught in a life spanning bet between the gods La Muerte (Kate Del Castillo) and Xibablba (Ron Pearlman) as to who will win Maria’s heart.
The film is broken down into two distinct styles: the smooth, CGI feel of the ‘real’ world and the wood block style of the story of Manolo and his friends. The look and feel of the world, and the underworld, in this film is absolutely breathtaking. Extremely detailed, vibrant and unique in it’s own right. The art direction for this film is outstanding, and is leaps and bounds above the other animated films this year.
The story is one of standing up for who you are, and fighting for what’s right. I was a little worried about this film, manly because Channing Tatum was one of the leads, but he does a superb job of the over the top young war hero, Joaquin. All the actors do a fantastic job in making this visit to The Book of Life an enjoyable one.
If you are looking for a great animated film, or maybe you are a big fan of the Day of the Dead, then The Book of Life is ideal for you. It’s a feast for the eyes and should not be missed.