A still image from The Book of Life.

Guys, I’m just going to start this review off with the bottom line: This movie is awesome.

Although I’m always the first to tweet or post awesome trailers on Facebook with the words “THIS LOOKS AWESOME”, I try never to judge a movie by the trailer because, well, we know all too well that’s just like judging a book by its cover.

BUT…there are times when movies live up to the hype that the trailers create, and The Book of Life is one of these little gems.

Directed by Jorge R Gutierrez who hasn’t really made a name for himself yet in Hollywood short of a few TV movies and some work in kids animation series, The Book of Life tells the story of Manolo (voiced by Diego Luna) who is torn between two choices – following in his dad’s footsteps, or following his heart.

He becomes a pawn in a game played by the lords of the afterlife – La Muerte (voiced by Kate del Castillo), who rules over the land of the remembered; and Xibalba (voiced by Ron Perlman) who rules over the land of the forgotten. Almost like Heaven and Purgatory.

Based on the mythology of The Day of the Dead (celebrated in Mexico around October each year), the movie is filled with colourful characters, song, dance and all things supernatural – very similar in many ways to Tim Burton’s A Nightmare Before Christmas.

And although The Book of Life is a lot more colourful and playful than Burton’s classic Claymation film, it does have slightly darker side to it, and some themes that probably aren’t suitable for younger kids or toddlers including death and the afterlife.

It’s not a graphic movie by any stretch of the imagination, but some of the characters, skeletons and animals in the movie can be scary for younger kids so I’d exercise caution before plonking your four year old down in front of the TV before you’ve had a chance to watch it. 

Even better, rent it and watch it with your kids because this movie is every little bit as enjoyable for adults as it is for older kids. The soundtrack on its own is totally with the R30 rental fee on BoxOffice. But I guarantee you’ll love the whole package.

With other voice talents including Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Zoe Saldana, Christina Applegate, Cheech Marin and Danny Trejo, this movie is a charming, funny, beautifully-animated story that’ll leave you wanting more.

It’s on BoxOffice. Rent The Book of Life.