The Book of Life

ANIMATION; 1hr 35min

VOICES BY: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum

Lovin' la vida loca: Manolo and Maria

As Mexican folklore has it in the gorgeously batty The Book of Life, the Day of the Dead is a kaleidoscopic festival of remembrance, played out in earthly and unearthly realms by wild-hearted humans and interfering spirits. Dreamy, guitar-strumming matador Manolo (voiced by Luna) and show-offy bruiser Joaquim (Tatum) have been rivals since boyhood for the affections of hot tamale Maria (Saldana). Joaquim has a secret edge, after being strategically slipped a magic medal by wily spirit lord Xibalba (Ron Perlman), who is enmeshed in a power-broking bet for human sovereignty with his caring wife, La Muerte (Kate del Castillo). Medal or not, our money is on softie Manolo.


Romantic tussles are tough enough without being the sport of controlling phantoms but director Jorge R. Gutiérrez’s chaotic, jewel-toned hyperbole and the va-va-voom of the voice cast wink naughtily at strife. All-you-can-eat churros in the underworld? There’s nothing on the menu not to love.