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Times of India
Aaron Berger, Brad Booker, Guillermo del Toro, Carina Schulze
Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum
20th Century Fox
The Book of Life is a 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film on the journey of Manolo Sanchez, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Manolo loves Maria who is wooed by Joaquin. Two spirits bet on who will win Maria and to ensure their victory, a snake is sent to kill Manolo. Manolo then embarks on an incredible journey that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears armed with only his wits, his guitar, and his two swords.
Parents need to know that The Book of Life is a refreshingly original animated film that takes viewers to the underworld and back. Smaller children might find the scenes in the Land of the Remembered scary, especially those featuring the king of the underworld, Xibalba (who's named after the Mayan name for the realm of the dead). The characters in the Land of the Remembered are traditional Day of the Dead figures, which are skeletons in brightly colored clothing. One dead character's head is separate from his body. There are some bullfighting scenes and battle sequences that are a little violent, and things get somewhat darker when the action shifts to the underworld (there's a demonic bull surrounded by fire). Expect a little bit of kissing and a few insults ("kick his butt," "lazy bum"), too. But the fun definitely outweighs the scary/iffy parts, and ultimately this is a vibrant, colorful movie about doing the right thing and the importance of family -- messages that can be appreciated by both kids and parents. It's also an invitation to explore and learn more about Mexican culture, from the details of the Day of the Dead celebrations to legendary creatures like Chupacabras.