The Book Of Life 3D, film review: Storytelling lets down gorgeous visuals and lively voice work

(U) Jorge R Gutiérrez, 95 mins Featuring voices of: Diego Luna, Zoë Saldana, Channing Tatum
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The Independent Culture

This animated feature, produced by Guillermo del Toro, boasts gorgeous visuals, lively voice work and makes inventive use of Mexican history and culture – in particular, The Day of the Dead.

Its actual storytelling is a little flat. This is an all-too predictable tale about two best friends in love with the same girl.

Manolo, the guitar-playing bullfighter who refuses to kill, and Joaquin, the town hero, are vying for the affections of the beautiful María.

Aimed at kids, the film can't help but present death in a cheery and superficial fashion. The Land of the Remembered, through which Manolo ventures, is like a multi-coloured circus.

With no sense of threat, danger or longing, nothing much seems to be at stake. It doesn't help that the three main characters are expressionless, wooden-faced marionettes.