Friday, 17 October 2014

Book of Life

Story time:
It was my birthday last tuesday, i was very sick and even though i planned to get dinner with friends it fell through.
one of my friends invited me to dinner and then to go see the animation class screening of this film.
Now i have only seen a few commercials for this film and boy did it look terrible... i mean plot wise the animation was very pretty.... but the comedy in the comercial made me wanna stay away...
still seeing it with pretty much entirely animation students... that may be a lot of fun.

So we went and... yeah....
well at least the audience was lively.

ok i'm being a little unfair... but let me explain...

The film was better then expected.... but i was expecting a piece of crap... and i would never see it again or tell anyone to go see it.

That aside what worked?

The art direction is lovely, the film has this wonderful style of all the characters being made of wood... the silhouettes are so diverse and the designs are simply stunning.
The music has some nice moments that will have you chuckling...
the baseline story is a good one and it's full of heart...

What didn't work?
everything else...
First: the framing device of this animated tale is 5 rebellious students going to a museum and being brought to a special display for Day of the dead.
Problem: who are these kids? why only five? some of them don't look rebllious at all... why do they need to hear this story? did one of them just lose a loved one and is having a hard time coping? no? THEN WHAT IS THE POINT?
this framing device could be completely cut from the film and it wouldn't be missed... the definition of pointless.

Second: Pop culture and refferential humor....
Problem: this film has so many refferences that it already feels dated and it's opening night.
Problem 2: it feels like in order to fit in all the jokes they had to speed up the plot to the point where the characters lose a chance to be developed more. if the jokes were almost completely cut out this would have been a lovely story tale for children and i think it would have easily kept them engaged.

Third: things are happening too fast in general.
Problem: there is some stunning imagery and it's really hard to take it all in and enjoy when things are happening so fast and frantically. it's just impossible to take this all in.

the film is also shown in 3d, i would say avoid it cause i think it would dull some of the visuals and make you feel sick.

and it's not a bad film by any means... kids will probably enjoy it... but it could have been a truly spectacular film if it had just told the story it wanted to tell and stopped making pop culture references... i feel like it sold itself short... and that's a little disappointing

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