Epic Movie (Re)Watch #94 - The Book of Life

Spoilers below.

Have I seen it before: Yes.

Did I like it then: Yes.

Do I remember it: Yes.

Did I see it in theaters: Yes.

Was it a movie I saw since August 22nd, 2009: Yes. #325.

Format: Blu-ray.

1) I watched this about a week ago - on the actual Day of the Dead - but didn’t have time to write it because I live in Chicago and the Cubs won their first World Series in 108 years. So my priorities were a little different than usual.

2) Anyone here a fan of “El Tigre”?

Originally posted by fire-miracle

Well the creator of that show - Jorge R. Gutierrez - was the writer/director of this film! Some El Tigre characters even cameo in the film’s opening, but you have to REALLY look for them.

Originally posted by oescafandronasociedade

3) The framing device of this film (a bunch of kids at a museum being told a story) is a classic fairytale/magical realism device that can be found in films such as Big Fish. It also gives the film a plot driven reason for it’s unique animation style (the characters looking like wooden figures).

Originally posted by -bawsten

4) This film has some really great humor.

Vendor Boy: “Churros! Churros! (A bird poops on the churros.) Frosted churros!”

5) I will talk about La Muerte and Xibalba as individual characters in just a second, but for now I want to focus on their relationship.

Originally posted by gifsbyrosie

I’m not overly familiar with Day of the Dead lore outside of this film, but I think the idea of having the ruler of The Land of the Remembered (La Muerte, everything good and wonderful in the world) and the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten (Xibalba, everything that is negative in the world) be lovers is a great idea. Their relationship is tense, volatile, and can be filled with conflict, but never is it abusive. Never is it hateful. You always get a great sense of love between these two and that’s what makes it work.

6) Ron Perlman as Xibalba.

Originally posted by clusterstruck

These two wouldn’t work so well together if they couldn’t stand on their own as characters. And the work so well in that field because of equal parts writing, character design, and voice over work. Ron Perlman is a regular collaborator of Guillermo Del Toro’s, the executive producer on this film, and has worked in a number of animated project before (including VP Lancer in “Danny Phantom” and Clayface in “Batman: The Animated Series”). Perlman brings a roguish charm to all his characters, even when it’s just his voice. He’s interesting, rough, and just likable! And he makes Xibalba all those things. You’re never particularly rooting against him, even though he’s technically the villain. You’re just entranced whenever he’s on screen.

7) Kate del Castillo as La Muerte.

Originally posted by beanarie

American audiences are not as familiar with Kate del Castillo as they are with Ron Perlman, although she is one of Mexico’s most acclaimed popular actresses. As Perlman does with Xibalba, Castillo brings genuine charm, likability, and charisma to La Muerte. As well as an added fierceness that lets you know this undead ruler can keep her own when head-to-head with her darker lover. You definitely get the vibe that La Muerte is the more dangerous of these two but also the kinder, and so much of that relies on Castillo’s performance.

8) Manolo, Maria, and Joaquin.

Originally posted by br0ken-5tring5

We first meet these characters and get a sense of their relationship as children, and it’s great. Yes Manolo and Joaquin both love Maria, but they’re friends first. ALL of them are friends! Later in the film Joaquin and Manolo remain friends even when vying for Maria’s affections, and they are friends with Maria before they are lovers. And I think it’s driven home by this statement from Maria as a child:

Maria [after Manolo and Joaquin fight over who’s she is]: “I belong to no one!”

They don’t belong to each other, they chose to be friends. They chose to be with together because they genuinely like each other. I love that.

9) A huge theme of this film is also seen in Maria’s, “I belong to no one!” line and that is the theme of being true to yourself.

Both Joaquin and Manolo have huge shadows they live in (a line which is actually uttered by Joaquin later): Joaquin’s dead father was a great war hero and Manolo’s father pushes him to be a bullfighter like all the men in their family have been. It makes for a unique conflict and a great message to kids of all ages: be yourself.

10) Maria as a character.

Originally posted by maria-magnolia2

You get a real sense of Maria as a character when we first meet her. Not only does she have the wonderful line, “I belong to no one!” but she also shows her placement of morality over societal values by freeing animals slated for slaughter. Her father sends her off to a convent to become, “a proper lady,” but…it doesn’t really work. At least, she doesn’t become his definition of proper. She is loving, kind, sweet, but fiercely independent and someone who follows her heart above all else. Zoe Saldana voices Maria, and breathes such wonderful life into the character you forget she’s acting. Everything about Maria just feel so real it’s amazing.

Originally posted by zoeesaldanaa

11) The decision to compose the film’s soundtrack from popular music recorded specifically for the movie (the mariachi version of “I Will Wait For You” being the earliest example) as well as original songs composed by Paul Williams is a great one. The copyrighted songs never feel out of place and don’t distract from the plot, instead playing perfectly into the emotion of the scene. And the original songs are made for the moments which are purely story and pure character, so they could not possibly be represented by something which was already written because this story hasn’t existed before.

12) Manolo!

Originally posted by annika-renina

All the characters in this film are written with such life and depth that lead character Manolo couldn’t POSSIBLY be an exception. He has skills as a bullfighter, but is deeply conflicted by his duty to his family and his duty to his heart. But it’s all guided by love, something with is illustrated by the inscription on his guitar (a gift from Maria, nonetheless): “Always play from the heart.” It is Manolo’s defining characteristic and defining struggle: that he wants to be himself, not his father or anyone else.

Diego Luna just…ugh! So I’ve seen Luna in small roles before (The Terminal, Elysium) but this film makes me a HUGE fan of his! I’m really looking forward to his role in Rogue One BECAUSE I loved his performance in this film so much. Manolo sings more than any other character in the film, and Luna infuses each song with such sincerity and warmth it is nearly impossible not to fall in love with his performance as Manolo. And he treats each line of dialogue the same. Like Saldana as Maria, you don’t feel like you’re listening to an actor. You’re listening to Manolo.

Originally posted by luna-diego

13) Grandma is hysterical.

Grandma Sanchez [after Manolo refuses to kill a bull]: “Kids today, with their long hair and no killing stuff.”

Grandma Sanchez [after Manolo’s father says everyone in their family was a great bullfighter]:

Originally posted by grumblepie


She doesn’t have many lines but very nicely embodies the film’s wonderful characters and humor.

14) Manolo’s Father, Carlos.

I have seriously MIXED feelings about Carlos, and I think you’re supposed to. He shows a genuine desire to do the best for his son, he just doesn’t actually KNOW what’s best for his son. He pressures him into being a bull fighter because it’s the Sanchez way, and when Manolo expresses dissatisfaction with this his father shames him into doing it.

Carlos [to convince Manolo to be a bullfighter]: “Don’t you LOVE your family?”

(GIF source unknown [if this is your GIF please let me know].)

(PS, I find this line to be the sign of an abusive relationship but maybe that’s just me.)

BUT Carlos has genuine moments of love with his son. He encourages him to tell Maria how he feels, he comforts him when he’s missing his dead mother, he actually LOVES Manolo. Hector Elizondo’s performance and the writing gets this across in a great way, and I think the film is better for it.

15) Channing Tatum as Joaquin.

Originally posted by fwankcastles

I do have to say of the trio of friends, Channing Tatum’s Joaquin is probably the weakest link. BUT that’s like calling one of The Lord of the Rings movies the worst in the trilogy: it was still nominated for best picture! I think it’s definitely because you know Joaquin is the third wheel, you know that Maria loves Manolo, and so it’s hard to get behind it. And you just can see that although they’re great as friends they wouldn’t make a good couple (despite Joaquin’s hopes to the contrary).

It would’ve been easy to write Joaquin as a jerk. And although he can be a bit pig headed here and there, you understand that he’s a genuinely good friend who truly cares for Maria (even though they’re not a great fit). Tatum brings a lot of this to the role, and even though I believe he’s the only non-Hispanic actor playing a decidedly Hispanic character (Ron Perlman gets a pass because Xibalba is an otherworldly creature) he has the same warmth and sincerity as Luna and Saldana have. It’s a nice way to round out the trio of friends.

Originally posted by jumpstmovies

16) I can’t tell if this joke is stupid or hysterical.

Pepe [when he and his brothers are in danger]: “I’m allergic to dying!”

Pancho: “Especially in the face!”

Originally posted by idiot-eden

17) Joaquin’s biggest failing is probably that he buys too much into societal values, and his society’s values are…sexist. He is surprised that Maria reads, expects her to be a doting housewife (as all the high up men do), and that’s not what his heart wants it’s what he thinks should be.

18) “I Love You Too Much”.

Originally posted by odazais

This is the song Manolo sings to express his feelings for Maria, and it’s beautiful. Paul Williams has crafted a quiet, loving melody which pulls at your heartstrings and is sung beautifully by Diego Luna. I think it’s my favorite song in the film and one of the best love songs I’ve ever heard.

19) Maria is awesome, if that hasn’t been made clear already.

Maria [stopping a kiss after Manolo’s song]: “Did you think it was going to be that easy?”

She’s not the girl who falls head over heels for someone just because they sang to hear. It’s appreciated, but there needs to be more than that. I love it!

20) This film never subscribes to storied cliches. It’s not like Manolo can’t be an idiot too, as noted when he and Joaquin start to fight over Maria (which she has shown to never truly appreciate).

Originally posted by lolitajohnadams

Maria: “You two are acting like fools.”

Manolo: “Wait, me too?”

You mean me, the nice guy romantic lead, is actually making a mistake? What kind of movie is this? (Hint: a great one.)

21) How long must it have taken to put out all those candles?

Originally posted by mariaymanolo

It shows devotion on Manolo’s part. As will the rest of the film, honestly.

22) One of the conflicts in this movie that gets me going the most is how unfair everyone is to Manolo. When they were children he stopped a wild boar from hurting people, but Joaquin got credit because he saved the mayor. As adults he’s ready to fight off bandits without a magic medal, but Joaquin gets credit because he does fight them off WITH a magic medal which protects him from harm. And when Maria dies from a snake bite everyone blames him. He’s not the snake! He didn’t bite her! So bug off!

23) My brother and I laughed so hard after we heard this line:

Student [after Manolo dies]: “What is it with Mexicans and death!?”

The only reason that line isn’t racist is because it was written by a Mexican in a film directed by a Mexican which is produced by a Mexican. So it’s okay to laugh.

24) The Land of the Remembered!

Originally posted by lolitajohnadams

Originally posted by lolitajohnadams

The Land of the Remembered is when this film’s visual style really takes off. Gutierrez’s imagination and the animation department’s skill bleeds through every scene in this wonderful place and it really pulls you into it’s world magnificently.

25) I mentioned in my Nightmare Before Christmas recap that Burton and company did a good job of establishing minor character with small introductions, and The Book of Life (although not Burton) follows in that tradition when we meet Manolo’s family.

Each family member - from the brutish Carmelo (voiced by the film’s director) to grandpa Luis (voiced by Danny Trejo) - is given a unique character with just a few seconds of screen time and dialogue which carries through until the end of the film. It works wonderfully.

Originally posted by lamuertes

26) This freaking line, after Jorge is established as wanting to have been a singer.

Originally posted by dukespook

Manolo [after the two laugh about it]: “They crushed our dreams. Hilarious!”

Originally posted by yourreactiongifs

27) Manolo’s Mother.

(GIF originally posted by @lamuertes)

Immediately there is a difference in what is expected from Carmen Sanchez (his mom) and what there is.

Manolo: “And I became a bullfighter, just like you wanted.”

Carmen: “Me? Are you crazy?”

It turns out Manolo’s father saying his mother wanted that was…uh…wrong, to put it mildly. It’s a nice juxtaposition which establishes her as a character and not just a plot device.

28) Dude, I love this dialogue.

Xibalba [after Luis says La Muerte would never hand over her kingdom]: “She lost a bet.”

Luis: “Oh. She would do that.”

29) You get a lot of Manolo’s tender side and playing from the heart, but it’s easy to forget that he’s still a headstrong Sanchez boy. He still has the fierceness of a bull fighter, even if that’s not what he wants to do. And we see this particularly when Manolo threatens to expose Xibalba. That may not be the smartest move, but it is fierce.

30) Did I mention this dialogue and humor is awesome?

Luis [after his body is knocked away from his head]: “Hey, my arthritis is gone!”

31) The Candlemaker

Originally posted by thenugu

The Candlemaker rounds out the trio of immortals here, and falls in the middle. He is not about the Land of the Remembered or the Land of the Forgotten, he creates the candles (each candle representing a life). He is this big ball of happy childlike energy which is just fun to watch. And who’d they get to place this super upbeat and positive guy with hope and optimism dripping from him?

Originally posted by hiphop-community

It’s a nice change of pace from Ice Cube’s more hardboiled characters to see him play such a wonder filled creature, and to do it so well too! His voice work stands up there with the rest of the cast in that you never think you’re listening to Ice Cube, you’re just watching the Candlemaker. It’s great.


  • Maria’s fierceness has been established above.
  • La Muerte getting pissed when she finds out Xibalba cheated on the beat is fierce!

Originally posted by jeunetrentenaire

It’s a lot of fun to watch.

33) The final fight before Manolo can return to the land of the living is born from a wager he makes with Xibalba (he’ll face whatever challenge is thrown his way and win).

Xibalba: “What, do tell, is your worst fear?”

And then we get this:

Originally posted by littlechinesedoll

But it turns out his greatest fear isn’t killing the bull, it’s being true to himself. This ties into what I mentioned earlier: Manolo’s defining characteristic and his struggle are the same in that he wants to be himself. And we get a wonderful song to tie it up, of the same quality as “I Love You Too Much” and it is simply called “The Apology Song”. (Manolo’s father, who’s dead at this point, said that a Sanchez never apologies but after the fight is incredibly proud of his son.) It’s a nice character climax for Manolo before we get the final fight of the film.

34) When you have no idea this is coming, it’s the funniest line in the film.

Originally posted by museelo

(GIFs originally posted by @museelo)

35) I give massive credit to the filmmakers for the way they handled Joaquin. He and Maria are set to be married now that Manolo is dead, and he knows Maria doesn’t want it so he’s about to talk to her about it before the town is attacked by bandits. Joaquin could have easily been some Gaston type but instead we got a sincere, honest character who deepens the conflict of the film.

36) This freaking movie…

Originally posted by stevenscrivello

(GIF originally posted by @stevenscrivello)

37) The entire final fight of the film is wildly fun to watch.

Originally posted by kathon

It’s well paced, well choreographed, brings in all the characters we’ve met so far (living and dead), gives us a nice “dance” with Manolo and Maria, is filled with nice character moments, good humor, and has Joaquin decide he’s going to be his own man and try to sacrifice himself for his friends (it doesn’t work, he survives). It’s a great climax to the film.

38) “No Matter Where You Are”, the final song in the film, is a great ball of energy and love. But more than that, it let me know something I didn’t before…

Zoe Saldana can REALLY sing!

Originally posted by lghtmgnt

Just thought I’d share.

39) The final reveal, that Christina Applegate’s tour guide and the security guard are really La Muerte and Xibalba, is in classic tradition of magical realism and fairytale stories. It’s a nice ending to the film.

Originally posted by good-goodbye

The Book of Life is great, and truly under appreciated. It’s representation of Mexican culture is unique in the animated film landscape, and gives the film a unique visual and musical style. The acting is topnotch, and you can feel through the writing/directing/character animation that it is truly a labor of love for all those involved. A great film which everyone should see.

Up next: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

day 4: peachangstweek
  • Star Crossed Myth
  • Gods reaction to the realization of MC never being real, only created to help “cure” the gods sins, and her departure (knowing that she can never come back, because she doesn’t have a soul).
  • I really ran out of ideas by like the 3rd guy so sorry if these suck! Writing 12 is h-a-r-d.
  • Use the #peachangstweek to follow along with my and other user headcons!
  • Like my headcons? Click here for my masterpost!

Leon: When he watched your figure disappear from sight he lashed out in a fit of rage, his attacks directed towards the king with all his might. The battle was even, and no god knew who the winner would be. “This is pointless Leon,” The King addressed him, “Even if you win here, I can’t bring her back with my powers. She doesn’t have a soul.” The words broke the confident lion as he crumpled to the ground, his hands covering his face. He didn’t want to face a world without you.

Scorpio: When he watched your figure fade away, like particles of light flying in the air, he felt all he hold reasonable go with you. What was life knowing that there was no possible way for you to ever exist? Although he didn’t want to show his true emotions to the other gods, he kept them bottled up inside, never letting one slip by in his darkest moments when he thought about your smile, or the feeling of your lips on his. He contained his rage, because he knew there was no getting you back.

Teorus: The bright and cheery smile always on his face was gone when he lost you. The pictures you both took together hurt to much to look at, the spare clothes you left in his room were shoved in a box so he didn’t have to be reminded of the pain, and even milk tasted sour to him. Depression consumed him as he barely completed his godly tasks, “Replace me if you’re so upset,” Was all he responded to when the other gods tried to lure him out of the deep haze he seemed to be living in. He didn’t have any will to go on anymore.

Dui: He laughed. After everything that happened, it was the only reaction that could come out that seemed appropriate to him, “Come on, don’t joke about that. So where is Maria?” He asked, his laugh turning more desperate and cynical as seconds passed, “Where are you hiding her?” The deranged expression on his face showed his true thoughts, that he didn’t understand what was being said. What did they mean you were gone, never existed, never had a soul? You were just here, he knew it. He would find you in time.

Huedhaut: When the King broke the news after your departure that there was no way he could reborn you, since your soul was indeed destroyed, Huedhaut lost all sense of reason. He didn’t understand why the King would do such a thing? To play with him? Cause him pain? What more could be done to torment him from the loss of you? But all the rage and anger subsided in seconds to sadness. Hue was ration, logical, he considered himself the wisest of the zodiac. He knew lashing out would get him no where, so he simply retreated to solidity, where no one could hurt him. 

Ichthys: He cried. The only one who would cry in front of all the gods with no shame, “Why? Why?” Was all he could ask. Why would the King do this? Why can’t she have a soul? Why did this happen to him? Why did his life so ever so much suck? The question never voiced out loud, but his heart heard his cries of pain and sadness and always showed it on his face as the days went on. Each day he became slower, pulled less pranks, cracked less jokes, cared less.

Karno: All those years he “watched over” you were lies, then what was the truth anymore? Was he living right now, or was this some facade to mask the reality of the harsh world? He felt his mind spinning as agony and grief took him over. He didn’t want to accept this reality––couldn’t accept this reality. He just couldn’t…

Zygalvis: Watching you fade from view tore him apart. He desperately grasped at your fading form, hoping that if he caught you that you come back to him. The normally cool and level-headed libra was now on his hands and knees, gripping onto his own clothes for comfort. What was there to do now that you were gone? You were…it. You brought him happiness, love, life. And took it away when you left as well. 

Aigonorus: He didn’t know how to react when you disappeared. At first he thought he was dreaming, and rubbed his eyes hoping he would wake up. But when the King assured him that he was not sleeping, panic and fear took over his features. He was unsure what to do with himself. The pitying looks of the gods didn’t help the situation as he looked around the room quickly. Where were you? Where were you? 

Krioff: “Somehow…I knew.” Those melancholy words left his lips as he slumped his shoulders. Deep down, he knew you were to good to be true. To love a god––no, a soul like his took efforts and passion he didn’t know someone had. But he knew, he knew deep down that one day you might leave, on your own terms or someone else’s. And he wasn’t shocked by the outcome.

Tauxolouve: “Wha-What’s going on?” He questioned as your form disappeared from sight. His heart was racing, his hands grasping at the air in desperation, his eyes wide, his mouth agape. He was truly shocked by the news. To hear you never existed, never had a soul, he wondered what that all really meant. To create you to absolve his sin just sounded…absurd. “She’s never coming back?” Was all he could manage to ask, and the harsh reality that you were, indeed, never coming back caused him to fall to the floor, almost lifeless. 

Partheno: The confident vigro was in tears at the news. He didn’t care who was watching him, or who would snicker at his reaction to a mere mirage of a human. He cared about you, loved you, cherished you and all you stood for and believed in and to have you taken away like a snap of someones fingers seemed…wrong. You were more than just a illusion. You were Maria, his girlfriend, lover, best friend. You couldn’t just be gone.

See how in their veins all becomes spirit:
into each other they mature and grow.
Like axles, their forms tremblingly orbit,
round which it whirls, bewitching and aglow.
Thirsters, and they receive drink,
watchers, and see: they receive sight.
Let them into one another sink
so as to endure each other outright.
—  Rainer Maria Rilke, “The Lovers”, trans. John J. L. Mood
Underrated Ereri Fanfic Recs

We’ve all heard of Help Me Stand and Art of War so I made a masterpost(well not really) of some of the lesser know fics. As a bonus I made sure all of these update regularly.

Sugar on Top-Modern Sugar Daddy Au! Eren is a typical struggling college student. His father thinks he’s a disappointment. He’s having an affair with his friend (who’s already in a relationship). He feels like everything is useless.

One night he runs into a handsome stranger. But when this stranger starts to casually throw money at him, Eren comes to an agreement: having a pampering sugar daddy isn’t the most awful situation he could be in.

His only problem is his own emotions: holding on to his past pains and trying to accept a possible future at Levi’s side.

Paradise-Eren Jeager, 16, stands poised on a bridge ready to end it all. And he would have, had a stranger not happened to look out his window when he did. Six years of hell to reach rock bottom, and now comes the hard part; getting back up.

Keep reading

ok. so. im sure as a lot of u kno im a rly big fan of hamilton, a really really big fan. but now that a lot of the initial hype has died down and im able to look at the musical more clearly im finding that i… hate how the women are portrayed? i really, really do???

dont get me wrong, the schuyler sisters and maria reynolds set my gay little heart aflutter, but their treatment in the story is very unfair? after their introduction song, we get like… no insight on how angelica and eliza feel beyond ‘they are in love with alexander hamilton. like, they are just head over heels for them. so in love. tragic.’ historically speaking, peggy sent many purely platonic letters to hamilton, used her quick thinking to save her niece and almost got hit by a tomahawk in the process, eloped with stephen van rensselaer, became very ill and died in albany, alexander by her side, but you literally wouldnt know any of that unless u went out of ur way to look it up, because peggy just… doesnt get to say or do anything after the schuyler sisters.

im serious, the only times when eliza gets to sing about something that is not her husband is the schuyler sisters, take a break, and stay alive (reprise), angelica only gets the schuyler sisters. 

but dont even get me started on maria reynolds. poor miss maria reynolds, who married her abusive husband, james reynolds, at a very young age (15), who had absolutely no choice in whether or not she had sex with alexander because her husband wanted his money, who revealed in her letters that she felt so guilty and wished she had never been born, is portrayed as evil, bad news, a homewrecker, just because our hero cant keep it in his pants. did u kno that maria, with the help of aaron burr, divorced her piece of shit husband and even wrote her own pamphlet saying what happened between her and alexander, but it was never published, and she was publicly scorned and had to move away and change her name? probably not, since she doesnt get to do or say anything after say no to this!

to put things into perspective. laurens may be a dear friend of alexander, but he still has his own goals and motivations, he wants to end slavery. mulligan is a tailor’s apprentice and later a spy who wants to socially advance. lafayette wants to bring freedom to france. washington is a general and later the president. ect. eliza… is alexander’s wife. she loves him a lot. angelica… is alexander’s lover. she loves him a lot and is unhappy about not being able to fully express that. maria… is alexander’s lover, portrayed as some clever, cunning and evil mistress. peggy… is gone. shes going, shes gone. same, peggy. same.


Hello yes I understand the first post here is humorous but Jefferson is in the song Alexander Hamilton!! Diggs is portraying both Lafayette and Jefferson with the line “we fought with him”. It has a double meaning: Lafayette means “I fought alongside him” while Jefferson means “I fought against him”. (Same goes for Mulligan and Madison respectively.)

Similarly, Ramos’ line “I died for him” applies to both characters he plays (Laurens and Philip), as does Jasmine’s “I loved him” (Peggy, as a brother, Maria as a lover). Sorry, basically I’m just super psyched about this song because Lin is a genius and I love how he’s done this!!