Book of Life

7.21 h 35 min2014X-RayHDRUHDPG
A young man embarks on a journey that spans three fantastical worlds in this incredible animated adventure from producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez.
Jorge R. Gutierrez
Christina ApplegateIce CubeHector Elizondo
English [CC]
Audio languages
EnglishEnglish [Audio Description]
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Supporting actors
Diego LunaZoe SaldanaChanning TatumKate Del CastilloRon Perlman
Guillermo del ToroBrad BookerAaron D. BergerCarina Schulze
PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
Available to watch on supported devices


4.8 out of 5 stars

15868 global ratings

  1. 86% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 8% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 1% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

HeidiReviewed in the United States on March 20, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
AWFUL. Absolute junk.
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The Book of Life

So much hate. Non-stop insults, tons and tons of unnecessary violence. Put sexist ideas into my kids’ minds that weren’t there before. Flow was awful- just non-stop heavy action. I can’t believe this movie had an editor.

I still don’t understand why this movie was made; I don’t see any positivity coming from it, just a ton of negatives. There was almost no Mexican culture, the actors didn’t even have Mexican accents, almost all the music was old recycled music from the U.S., not Mexican. No good music in the whole movie. I’m not Mexican but I felt they really disrespected Mexicans and their culture with this movie.

It was trashy American junk, and I could not figure out the target audience. There was WAY too much violence, insults, and meanness for kids under 10, and yet I don’t see any reason for anyone older to watch it. I did not like the style/animation. I found the unrealistic wooden block characters distracting. The acting was poor as well.

We saw “Coco” last month and WOW that was spectacular, and everything this movie wasn’t. It shared some ideas such as Day of the Dead but actually very well-made, not like this junk. Coco gave an insight to Mexican life and culture, and I found that movie to be entertaining and educational. We all loved Coco, so I highly recommend it.

Back to the Book of Life. I wanted to shut it off lots of times but the kids (7, 10) protested and I thought perhaps we were through the worst of it. Nope! It got even worse toward the end. Lots of “bad guys”, and they were scary! I would never let a kid five or under watch this. There were probably well over a hundred slaps, kicks and punches, people throwing each other, as well as a bomb. Lots and lots of bull-fighting with tons of close-ups of the big bull’s scary teeth. If you are concerned about your children watching violence, please preview all of this movie before showing your children. In addition to the violence, there were several bets (“wagers”) being made.

I did not appreciate at all the basis of the plot- two boys who grow up into men fighting for one woman. The woman, who is in full makeup and dressed and animated like a Disney princess, clearly states towards the beginning that she does not belong to any man, but the movie misses the mark and I think a young audience might come away with the idea that women are just meant to be beautiful trophies for their husbands. The men constantly fought for her affection and over and over again tried to prove who was more worthy of her love based on their strength, courage and fighting skills.

My husband said he would describe this movie in four letters, starting with a “c”. I deeply regret renting, watching and sharing this movie with my children.
10 people found this helpful
BlytheReviewed in the United States on June 9, 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
Good story, fun action and gorgeous visuals.
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Close to an "I Love It" but not quite as this doesn't get a lot of re-watches in the house. 4 y.o. thinks it is a lot of fun, and there are certainly elements for the adults to be amused by, but not sure we will return to this again and again. I appreciate the lack of commercialization, and enjoy the subject matter (Good vs. Evil, strength against morality). The voices are good and the acting is well done. I like the music, and the visuals are stunning. The bad guys are a little scary, but there is not too much to overwhelm a young viewer.

I also appreciate that it's not the typical European mythos, but shows a rich world view that many may be unfamiliar with. I like that my son is getting some exposure to more traditions. The girl must fight against some expectations, the boys must as well. It was also a good way for us to talk a little about death, and have more discussion around ghosts and scary things. Little one is currently having some fears (expected for his age) and this allowed for us to talk about some of the things he can do, and how some things that may look scary are good.
35 people found this helpful
KimberlyReviewed in the United States on January 29, 2018
4.0 out of 5 stars
Fun, good music, good message and Good defeats Evil!
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My kids really love this film, I dare say that they like this one better than Coco, the music while not original, and not true folk either, it's a clever way to make a connection with American audiences as they use very recognizable alternative rock tunes (and other genres) throughout with really awesome arrangements. Just as Coco, the background is based on the Mexican tradition of "Día de muertos", with a love triangle and supernatural events that tie it all together. No harsh language is used, of course there's some violence as the heroes have to fight the 'evil' forces but nothing too graphic, and I think the theme and concept of death is treated respectfully, for the most part.
Also, the subject of bullfighting is a very crucial part of the story and I think it was a very smart take on it.
And Diego Luna can sing too! It's an excellent cast overall.
12 people found this helpful
Cementero78Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
The Book of Life
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This movie while traveling abroad for work last year. This movie is not only visually stunning, it also brings a simple but elegant explanation of the day of the dead. All of the characters were fleshed out very very well, the storyline was very engaging and the morals about family and knowing one's self and being unassailed by social expectations resound throughout. My girlfriend just recently watch this with me for the first time the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly. We even spoke about it a couple days after word, as she was so enamored with it. This is a great family film that I personally would recommend to anyone living on the North American or Central American continen girlfriend just recently watch this with me for the first time the other day and enjoyed it thoroughly. We even spoke about it a couple days after word, as she was so enamored with it. This is a great family film that I personally would recommend to anyone. This film has been a topic during our podcasts at The Stone Turntable: [...]
13 people found this helpful
Fino J. CaracoReviewed in the United States on June 15, 2016
5.0 out of 5 stars
This movie is an absolute GIFT!
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This movie is an absolute GIFT! A gift from the Director and especially the man responsible for the music. (I know their names but not sure of the correct spelling). It is vivid and colorful. The music is inspiring with several beautifully written original songs. The story is about love and friendship and courage and fear and faith and finding one's self. Such a wonderful movie to watch. I have watched this movie countless times with my three year old daughter. She completely LOVES it and sings the songs knowing the words by heart. You need not have a small child to enjoy this movie any adult should be able to fully enjoy this film. If this were a Disney movie it would probably been a huge mega hit but with a smaller studio it has remained a somewhat hidden gem among all of the animated movies of the last few years. HIGHLY RECOMMEND!
18 people found this helpful
SteveReviewed in the United States on July 4, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Glorious, daring, and unforgettable
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This is a great movie for so many reasons. First of all, it’s visually stunning in a way that most animated movies rarely attempt. Secondly, it’s just wacky and twisted enough to rise above the typical animated movie, something Pixar knows well, but in this case, the audience is decidedly older (hence the PG rating and the descriptive warning within the rating). Yes, there are adult themes of death, albeit in the fanciful sugar-skull-centric fashion of the glorious holiday Día de los Muertos. Nonetheless, this is not a movie for very young children but, I do think that tweens and up will find it captivating, and it’s good to see that the people who put this surreal dream together were up for making an animated movie that wasn’t so predictable and hackneyed. Lastly, it walks a delicate line between reverence and satire, dark comedy and enchanting romance, Guillermo de Toro and Walt Disney. Not bad for a “cartoon.”

Part Rango, part Ren and Stimpy, and part folklore, The Book of Life is a sly, eye-popping, tongue-in-cheek, whimsical tale of love, friendship, and tradition that is a treat for the mind, the heart, and the imagination. While I’d like to see some improvements made in tightening things up, a more involved storyline, and a better sense of music, The Book of Life is still a gorgeous movie that joyfully shatters the Disney/Pixar bubble.
14 people found this helpful
Miz EssReviewed in the United States on May 17, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Charming (and not scary like I'd expected)
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I thought this movie might scare my son, with the references to death and the Day of the Dead, etc, so I screened it before deciding to let him watch it, because I didn't really know what to expect. He had seen the previews for it on TV and kept asking for it. He is autistic and doesn't really understand the concept of death, at least as far as I know from what he's indicated. He's probably watched this film a million times already. He likes the animation and the songs (he loves music) and the colors. I don't think this film would upset neuro-typical children, either, even if they do understand the concept of death. Parents can always find age-appropriate, gentle ways to explain things to our kids, yes? The animation is unique and bit strange. It's actually a story within a story, so there are two different types of animation for the characters. The first is the typical Pixar-type animation where people look like animated versions of people. The story within a story people look like they are constructed from toy blocks and other various odd parts. Everything is very colorful. The story itself is one of loyalty, love, morals, trust, keeping promises, and faith. I actually enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. I do believe that parents of small children who might find some things scary should screen this movie before allowing their kiddos to watch.
14 people found this helpful
Robert HayesReviewed in the United States on January 28, 2015
5.0 out of 5 stars
Aggressively charming and visually creative
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THE BOOK OF LIFE is produced by Guillermo del Toro, directed by Jorge Gutierrez, and features an outstanding voice cast to tell its story of true love (along with a generous helping of Mexican culture). The basic plot is about two boys, Joaquin (Diego Luna) and Manolo (Channing Tatum), who vie for the affections of a girl, Maria (Zoe Saldana). As people they're fairly opposite, with Manolo being a musician at heart (his family's profession is bullfighter) and Joaquin being a soldier who does great deeds of derring-do. Unbeknownst to them, however, Lady Muerte and Xibalba (Ron Perlman) have entered into a wager about which of them can win the heart of Maria and it sets Manolo on a journey that will take him to both realms of the dead. First, I should say that the character design, animation and overall look of the film was extremely creative and visually unique, befitting a Guillermo del Toro production. The colors popped and everything in the world of the film was brought to vibrant life. The voice cast was equally impressive, although there were a couple of people who took me out of it for a little bit before getting sucked back into the story. The biggest offender was probably Ice Cube, who voices the Candlemaker, although they did stick in a couple of good jokes and references for him. I also got taken a little bit out of the story by realizing that Danny Trejo and Cheech Marin also voiced characters in the film, but again, they still did great work here. Another high point was the music. The score was pretty good, but what really stood out was the use of modern pop songs in what is (mostly) a period piece set at an indeterminate time in the past. Of course, I didn't mind that one bit at all. I also thought that the first half to two-thirds of the story were excellent. It succeeded telling an emotionally moving story with plenty of interesting characters, but at a certain point it resorted to the standard climax and resolution that wrapped up everything with a nice little bow. And despite much of the humor working, at times I felt it was a little too silly for its own good. Still, at the end I was completely won over. Had I seen this last year, I'm fairly certain it would have made my top ten. As it stands, this was an incredibly charming and visually rich film that should appeal to kids and adults alike, and also serves as a valuable cultural lesson.
36 people found this helpful
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