It is always such a treat to speak with the creator of a work of art. The movie “Book of Life” is not just another kids’ animated movie, in fact, it IS a work of art! So it was with pleasure that I interviewed the artist behind this opus, the genius who created the beloved characters, the gorgeous visuals and most importantly, the heartwarming story of Manolo, Joaquin and Maria in “The Book of Life.” His name is Jorge Gutierrez. “The Book of Life,” is his feature directorial debut.
The movie was originally released around Halloween, because the movie’s setting is the Day of the Dead (Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos). But far from being a dark and scary film, it is actually, a colorful, positive and uplifting story about three friends and their devotion to each other, their families and to love! The visuals are unlike any animation we’ve seen in a while – they are vivid and detailed!
Jorge was the artist behind Nickelodeon’s show “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera,” the WB’s “Mucha Lucha” etc. “I wanted to bring some of the things I had done in TV animation to film,” Jorge revealed. “I wanted something that looked unique.” He draws inspiration for his distinctive style from Mexican folklore, Japanese animation, Picasso and other artists.
Without giving anything away, the movie is a classic love triangle. Manolo the reluctant bullfighter-with-a-soul-of-a-singer and Joaquin the soldier, vie for the heart of the pretty and smart Maria. Woven through the tale are generations of families, Mexican beliefs, and Mariachi versions of rock songs!
But enough of my thoughts, you really should just go out and see it. Better yet, buy the DVD.
Jorge’s vision for the “Book of Life” was brought to life with help from composer Gustavo Santaollala and producer Guillermo del Toro. The movie features an all-star voice cast – Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube and Kate del Castillo.