Reel FX Creative Studios, Twentieth Century Fox, Chatrone,

Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Danny Trejo, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Cheech Marin

Producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez come together to bring a very unusual and unique animated film to life. The film is based on Latin American culture and images in a very colorful and fanciful way. Manalo is faced with the choice of what to do with his life. He has dreams, but the family insists that their tradition insists that he become a bullfighter which is the family’s chosen profession. Manalo has two childhood friends who are off on their own adventures. But when two supernatural beings that head the afterlife locations of Land of the Remembered and Land of the Forgotten decide to make a wager on where the trio will end up after death. But they can’t play fair and start the trio on a journey through both lands of the dead and back again to the land of the living in this very interesting and well done animated adventure that is unlike any other.

The animation style of this is very different. The colors are bright and extremely colorful, but the shapes and designs of the world and the people are very out of the ordinary. The story follows traditions common in Latin America but not so well known in other parts of the world, so for many viewers, this will be a new and unexpected experience. Try not to be put off with this as it’s not your typical angels and devils type of afterlife, but it’s very well done. The soundtrack which is done by Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla (who also did classic film scores like Brokeback Mountain) adds a great deal of value to the production, as do the mix of eclectic old and not so old pop tunes mixed in to the fun. All in all this is a very well done little animated film, and something that is unusual, so it’s quite original in the style and storyline. (I am told it is based on characters on the Nickelodeon show that director Jorge Gutierrez also did called “El Tigre:The Adventures of Manny Rivera”. Since I don’t have kids of Nickelodeon age these days I have never seen it, so I can’t comment on similarities or differences, but as a stand alone film, I was really surprised at how interested I was in the outcome. Almost a morality play, it does have a great many good values, but they are shown in such an unoppressive way that it does not preach and is not in your face. I feel like the uniqueness of the characters and all the colors will keep the younger folk entranced (along with the great music) and certainly the older among us who have more life experience will appreciate the culture and superstitions that abound in the Latin American realm. A good movie for everyone, I highly recommend this film as one you ought to see, especially if you love animation as I do. One last comment. The voice actors in this film are a wonderful collection of great actors who do an excellent job of bringing to life the characters. This was one case where I was not put off by famous voices doing the soundtrack as it was just so well done.

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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