We also got a bit more information about the film’s plot, which features a love triangle between three childhood friends: strong-jawed Manolo (Diego Luna), mustachioed Joaquin (Channing Tatum), and Maria (Zoe Saldana). But things get shaken up after “the unpredictable gods wager on which man will win Maria’s heart.”
The story focuses on the romantic Manolo, whose family has a long lineage of bull fighters. He has a lifetime of fierce competition with his friend Joaquin, but also has another struggle: he wants to be a guitarist, not a bullfighter. Unfortunately, this news doesn’t go over too well with his father, the world’s greatest matador (Hector Elizondo) and super-macho grandfather (Danny Trejo). So Manolo goes on a magic journey to discover himself, which leads him “from the Land of the Living to the Land of the Remembered, where people who have lived complete lives, and are remembered among the living, go after they die. A final, daunting destination is The Land of the Forgotten, where those who have died with unfulfilled lives dwell.”
Along the way, he encounters his bullfighter great-grandfather (Placido Domingo), who, like Manolo, had other life ambitions: he always wanted to be an opera singer. We also are introduced to other characters, such as a Candle Maker (played by rapper Ice Cube), who is an ancient god with a beard made of clouds and a wax body.
We’ve been anxiously waiting for months for our first look at The Book of Life‘s final design and it definitely impresses. The stylized, angular, colorful look of the world and characters is refreshing. The characters look as if they were carved out of wood, which is visually interesting and appealing. Honestly, we can’t stop looking at these screenshots because they are so intricate and beautiful. It makes us even more anxious to see what the final animation looks like in the trailer tomorrow.
Check out the other stills below:
The article also featured an interview with the filmmakers and actors.
Talking about the story, Tatum said: “It goes to a place of sour grapes and deep hurt to the point of losing their friendship. But friendship always wins. That’s the message of this story: love and friendship and what you’re willing to sacrifice for these ideas.”
The Book of Life is directed by Jorge Gutierrez and produced by Guillermo del Toro. With the help of Del Toro, Gutierrez was finally able to get the film made after 14 years of pitching it. Reel FX, the maker of last year’s holiday film Free Birds, is animating the film. Most people weren’t blown away by that film, but there’s no question that The Book of Life is extraordinarily beautiful. Hopefully it will help launch the studio, giving it more recognition.
The Book of Life hits theatres on October 17, 2014.
Photos: Twentieth Century Fox & Reel FX