Freeview film of the day: The Book of Life

Stunning animation and gorgeous music bring the dazzling Day of the Dead fantasy to life

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The Book of Life ★★★★ 
Premiere 2.30-4.30pm C4

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The claim, “Unlike anything you’ve seen before!” is dangerous to make, especially in the fast-moving, self-consuming world of computer-generated animation. But Golden Globe-nominated The Book of Life, directed and co-written by Mexican animator Jorge Gutierrez and produced by newcomer Reel FX Studios, lives up to the hype. American-made but enriched with Mexican credentials, it spins a wildly imaginative Day of the Dead fantasy out of a love triangle between general’s daughter Maria (voiced by Zoe Saldana), toreador Manolo (Diego Luna) and supernaturally enhanced “town hero” Joaquin (Channing Tatum). It’s of a stylistic piece with this year’s Bafta-winning animation Kubo and the Two Strings, and Gutierrez’s vision lends his CGI-wooden puppets a tremendous, believable, slapstick tactility. The story is sometimes overpowered by the madcap mayhem but it’s a visual feast and Gustavo Santaolalla’s score swells and zings.

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