Many know Oct. 31 to be Halloween, but this date is also the Mexican holiday Day of Dead in which friends and family gather to remember those who have passed. This same holiday is also inspiration for the new movie coming out this weekend, “The Book of Life” directed by Jorge Gutiérrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro.
And trust me there are a number of reasons why you need to see this movie.
In this adventure/comedy, a young bullfighter by the name of Manolo must embark on a quest through the afterlife to find his destiny and win the heart of his true love. Not only is the plot filled with adventure and romance, but it’s also jam-packed with references from Picasso to Japanese animes.
Despite the dark nature, the story itself is one of family, hope and well life.
Just looking at the trailer practically injures my eyes with excitement between the brilliant colors and outstandingly designed characters.
The artwork is not only inspired by beautiful Mexican folk art, but Gutiérrez even had wooden puppets of the characters made by Central American artists that were later rendered into computer animation.
“Jorge wanted to create this world that felt handmade with wooden puppets and metal and paint,” said producer Gulliermo Del Toro in an NPR story. “Really feels very much like Mexican baroque.”
As Manolo traverses the world of the dead with his beloved guitar, he is accompanied by a musical mayhem of Mexican inspired tunes that is so fantastic it makes me want to listen to it till my ears fall off and salsa out of the room.
The music contains Mexican bolero and norteno versions of such songs by artists like Mumford & Sons and Radiohead. This mixture of music from growing up near U.S.-Mexican border inspired Gutiérrez, and the result is one of pure musical delight.
Not only does the music make you want dance, but, simply put, it lights up your heart like any good soundtrack from an animated movie. Really it feels like piñatas filled with the musical notes of the gods has exploded in your ears.
Not only is this movie the perfect way to celebrate October and the Day of the Dead, but it’s also an amazing adventure into an exceptional and spectacular culture. This is one Halloween treat you don’t want to miss.