It’s kind of early to start thinking about Dia de Muertos, especially since the idea of it getting cold again kind of makes me want to die. With that said, the cuddly and colorful Guillermo del Toro-produced animated movie, Book of Life makes the thought of colder weather a little more tolerable. Using the voice talents of Diego Luna, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, and Zoe Saldana, Book of Life is a tale as old as time: two best friends trying to win the heart and hand of a lady. Death (or something like it), however, has a bet riding on one of the boys and tilts the odds in his favor, sending Manolo (Luna) to the fantastic looking afterlife alluded to as the “Land of the Remembered.” I assume the Land of the Forgotten is the sad, scary place not shown in the trailer. The movie also features several talented Latinos on the mic including Danny Trejo, Eugenio Derbez, Kate del Castillo, Cheech Marin, and Gabriel Iglesias.
Director Jorge R. Gutierrez comes from an equally hue-drenched background in animation that includes ¡Mucha Lucha! and El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera. The trailer looks like a candy-coated explosion of a piñata, and I’m curious to see how the afterlife is fleshed out in the story. Plus, it looks to be devoid of the most common animated Latino stereotypes, so I’m hopeful the story never has to sink to that level for a cheap laugh. My only reservation is that it looks like Saldana’s character is going to be sidelined as the object of affection. I’d love to see her on the adventure and not just waiting for her man (any man, because she doesn’t look like she has a say). Fingers crossed for this one!
Book of Life opens in theaters October 17.