Considering I already wrote on what happens when you have too much think time, I should have known that sitting on a beach was the worst place to escape my own mind. In the movie The Book of Life a young man Manolo goes on a journey that teaches the importance of honoring the past while following his heart to embrace the future. The trailer for the upcoming 3-D animated film from Mexican director Jorge Gutierrez and producer Guillermo del Toro was released last week and promises to take audiences through an afterlife filled with vibrant and colorful characters.
The twist comes when the gods of the dead wager on who Maria will end up marrying and Manolo is forced to face his own fear of leaving behind his family’s bullfighting legacy to play the guitar.
The film comes with a star-studded voice cast including Danny Trejo, Hector Elizondo, Placido Domingo, Kate del Castillo, Ana de la Reguera, Cheech Marin, Christina Applegate, Gabriel Iglesias and more. The movie was born out of Gutierrez’s deep connection with Mexico’s Day of the Dead, celebrated Nov.
After 14 years of trying to get the film made, Gutierrez joined forces with compatriot Guillermo del Toro to bring his vision to life.
While I don’t believe Guiterrez intended sexism, his efforts at equality are confined to a sexist framework. ReelGirlsa€™ post missed this and so many other positive things about the female characters in The Book of Life and the movie as a whole, because all she focused on was that it was an a€?MFa€™ film. When discussing Maria’s strong, independent character, director Jorge Gutierrez said, a€?If feminism means men and women are equal, then, yes, this is a feminist movie. I hope to defend the female characters in The Book of Life not only from the story told, how they are presented and their actions in the film, but also with some perspective from those whose passion brought those animated characters to life.
However, I want to emphasize that at the end of the day, ReelGirl and I share the same goal, to get more female protagonists in childrena€™s content, animated and otherwise. LA MUERTE – The beautiful, majestic ruler of the Land of the Remembered, La Muerte is a fierce goddess who goes toe-to-toe with Xiabalba, the ruler of the Land of the Forgotten, in their wager over which boy will win the heart of Maria. MARIA – Does not just say she is strong, but her actions prove it every step of the way.
Mariaa€™s costume is a a€?nod to Frida Kahlo who wore folkloric clothing as a statement of her rebellion and an embrace of the peoplea€™s culture in Mexico.a€?* Mariaa€™s clothing as a child and as an adult symbolizes Mariaa€™s strength of character. THE ADELITA COUSINS – A brief moment that for most may go unnoticed, but is a huge feminist shout-out, are Manoloa€™s Adelita cousins. These two minor characters are a tribute to the women, or soldaderas who fought in the Mexican Revolution. I would go into the characters of Carmen, Manoloa€™s mother, who plays a significant and pro-active part in his journey through the lands of the dead, or his Grandmother who is a stoic voice of wisdom, and who used to be a€?a beast in the arena,a€? but I think Ia€™ve made my point. I specifically want to address a comment that a€?Maria says she is strong, but never shows it.a€? Absolutely false, she shows it time and time again in what she stands up for and the actions she takes. IN THE CEMETERY, the boy children, Manolo and Joaquin, are already play acting their future battle for Maria.
GENERAL POSADA, Mariaa€™s Father comes to having missed most of the action, but attributes the solution all to Joaquin, who is a€?So like [his] Father.a€? When Maria faces her fathera€™s anger, the first thing she notices is Manoloa€™s broken guitar for which she feels guilty. SAYING GOODBYE, when finally a€?the three amigos would be no morea€? Maria does more than simply face her exile to boarding school bravely. DIFFERENT FROM THE CROWD, In Manoloa€™s bullfight celbrating Mariaa€™s return, Manolo dedicates the bullfight to her. LA MUERTEa€™S WISDOM, After Manoloa€™s defeat Xiabalba thinks hea€™s won, but La Muerte knows better, a€?ita€™s not over,a€? she says. THE DINNER PARTY, is thrown by General Posada in honor of Mariaa€™s return, though he is scheming to connect Joaquin and Maria. MARIA IS NOT THAT EASY, up in her room alone, Maria hears Manolo and the mariachisa€™ attempt to serenade her. MARIA IS MORE THAN JUST A PRETTY FACE, she goes down stairs to help Manolo, but is surprised by the General and Joaquin who pops the question to her just as a dazed Manolo stumbles in. A PROPOSAL BETWEEN EQUALS, When Manolo proposes to Maria, notice that she also goes down on one knee when she responds to him.
A PROPOSAL TO SAVE HER TOWN, When Maria wakes up and finds that in fact Manolo is the one who has died, her Father the General pleads with her to marry Joaquin so he will stay to defend the town.
THE SON HE ALWAYS WANTED, at the wedding ceremony with Maria and Joaquin, the banditos attack.
SHE IS RIGHT THERE IN THE FIGHT, its the third act climax, Manolo has just returned from the dead, Joaquin is back, but is Maria who gives their familiar rally cry, a€?No Retreat!a€? and Manolo and Joaquin return a€?No Surrender!a€? And the 3 amigos go into battle. SHE KISSES HIM, when Manolo returned from the land of the dead, he swoops Maria in a passionate kiss.
ONE LAST THING: You would never know this unless you worked on the film, but Jorge Gutierrez, the filma€™s director valued the female perspective so much that he insisted that all female characters have female Animation leads. Please note my opinion does not represent that of the film makers, or any studios associated with the film.
This entry was posted in Movies and tagged Book of life, Jorge Gutierrez, Minority Feisty, Romney T.
Kudos to all involved with making Book of Life (sooo excited when I spotted the Adelitasa?¤i??) & to Romney Marino for clarifying the points reelgirl raised.
Basically you gave us all these ideas that the movie tried to get across through talk, but did not really execute those ideas through action. Or I should have said Romney Marino did not back his points with direct examples… just ideas of examples.


Seems like you missed the picture that clearly shows Romney is a WOMAN (talk about assumptions) & all her credentials, including being a longtime member of Women in Animation. A great blog entry which reflects so much more of what I saw in this movie when I went to see it with my children! For all you “readers” out there, feel free to add your own advice about books, or suggestions for good reads for this summer!
In order to post comments, please make sure JavaScript and Cookies are enabled, and reload the page. With its many years experience, Hellokids is one of the most popular kids websites worldwide. The matador soon finds himself in the magical Land of the Remembered, where people who have lived fulfilling lives go after they die, and later in the Land of the Forgotten, where the dead who hadn’t realized their dreams end up. 1-2, and much of the animation is stylized by the masks and figures that are synonymous with its celebration. 30, 2013 photo, artist Luis Castillo poses for a photo in a costume he designed and says is a representation of death, during a contest for the best Day of the Dead altars sponsored by a local university in Mexico City. I will concede that The Book of Life is yet another animated childrena€™s film whose protagonist is a male. That classification flattens out the fully realized and dimensional characters of Maria and La Muerte, and minimizes their actions as taken only to forward the male protagonist and his goals. I had a small part working with the Animation team in Production on the film, and know the filma€™s director Jorge and his wife Sandra, who designed all the female characters. Designed by Sandra Equina, the directora€™s wife and a€?musea€?, she has created an new modern image of the Latino cultural icon of Death, and brought her to the screen as a beautiful sugar-skulled goddess.
Throughout the story she is no damsel in distress, and in fact shea€™s always been the leader of the 3 amigos.
In the Directora€™s own words: a€?I asked Sandra to design young Mariaa€™s outfit to be an exact kid version of what she wears as an adult. Young Maria decides that she must save the pigs because they cana€™t be butchered, a€?not on my watch.a€? It is Maria who initiates the action, and Maria who the boys try to catch up to. One of the most important character arcs of the film is seen in the change in Mariaa€™s father, General Posada. La Adelita was a folk song from that era about a soldadera, and her name came to symbolize the archetype of a female warrior in Mexico, a woman who fights for what she believes. The women in The Book of Life may not be the protagonists of the film, but for a modern day romance set in Revolutionary Mexico, I think both Maria and LaMuerte, and the rest of the women of San Angel are unforgettable and to be admired. I also want to address my point that Maria is more of an equal to Manolo in both their actions in the film.
Young Maria jumps in and declares, a€?I belong to no one.a€? The three friends laugh together and then both Maria and Manolo get called home by their fathers.
Thinking he is alone, Manolo proceeds to sing from his heart, but Maria returns to retrieve her fan and sees his true self. At the dinner table when Joaquin compliments her beauty and says one day shea€™ll make a man very happy, Maria mockingly says how shea€™d love to cook and clean for him. More than one thrown vase discourages the 3 mariachis, leaving Manolo alone to serenade her from the heart.
Joaquin knows where her heart truly is and even he protests, but she finds the strength within and accepts the proposal solely to help save her village. At one point, Chakal has Manolo on one arm and Joaquin on the other A and each guy is telling the other, a€?I got this.a€? Maria comes in with a flying kick to Chakala€™s face, which lets them regroup and lets us know she also studied kung-fu. This might not seem like a big deal, but in my years experience in feature animation, Ia€™ve never known a director to care, let alone insist on female artists for more of the female perspective in the female characters.
I simply had a small part in ita€™s production, and now The Book of Life has a big place in my heart. According to my sister-in-law, it’s the hardest transition I will experience in life. Though not everyone the director spoke to about the film understood tthe true meaning of the holiday. Elaborate altars are erected inside homes around the region to remember loved ones who have died, decorated with photographs, candles, flowers, skeleton figurines, sugar skulls and sometimes the favorite food and drink of the dearly departed.
I started my blog, Reel Girl, because I wanted children to experience fantasy worlds where gender equality exists.
Do not forget, at ita€™s core The Book of Life is a *love story* set during Dia de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, and both couples (Maria-Manolo and LaMuerte-Xiabalba) have their own unique dynamic. Every step of the way, Maria and La Muerte, not to mention Manoloa€™s Grandma, his Mother Carmen, and his Cousins in the Land of the Remembered, are all strong female characters and positive role models for girls. So I say, ignore ReelGirla€™s blog post, and watch the movie for yourself and make your own judgement.
Both she and Manolo struggle to fight the patriarchy within their own family and be true to their own heart, (but more on that to come). She is riding the pig at the head of the stampede with her sword held high chanting for freedom, while Manolo gleefully hangs on for the ride and Joaquin tries to stop her. At the beginning of the film he is exactly the image of the overpowering father and cultural machismo that she must fight. At the moment that Manolo must make the critical decision it is Mariaa€™s reflection in his sword that he sees, and he decides not to finish the bull.


When he clearly doesna€™t get the joke, she immediately puts him in his place, a€?Are you kidding me? At the songa€™s romantic climax when everyone from Manolo to the audience is expecting them to seal it with a kiss, Maria lays a finger on Manoloa€™s lips, a€?Did you think it was going to be that easy?a€? and playfully pushes him over. In the bell tower, she and Manolo fight together in a dance that is both beautiful and painful for Chakal.
Their final song is a duet from Us the Duo, that is all about supporting each other as equals. So I say, hats off to The Book of Life and especially its creator Jorge Gutierrez and his wife Sandra Equihua.
She has worked in animation production for over 15 years at both independent and major animation studios across CG Features, VFX, and Television. The closest I think to tipping the scale for power balance were the Twins who lived their lives acting on their beliefs, not just talking big.
Once I got to college, I read mostly research articles, textbooks, and children’s books.
I had to find some way to get my mind off what seemed like a failing transition into real life. However, you can tell a lot about an author’s writing style from reading the first page.
Still, reading Marino’s comments, I was struck by how much not only she cares about gender equality but also, as you will see when you read her post, so does the director of the movie, Jorge Gutierrez. However, I think that is where the perceived sexism ends, and in fact, Ia€™d go so far as saying Maria and La Muerte in The Book of Life are among two of the strongest written female animated characters Ia€™ve seen in a long time, because they are played as equals to their male counterparts, Manolo and Xiabalba.
From the beginning they were conceived to be that way, from the symbolism incorporated into their design, to their actions on screen. Her design uses marigolds around her waist and bodice signify the feminine power using the flower that is a symbol of Dia de los Muertos said to help guide the spirits.
Later in the film during Manoloa€™s first bullfight, she visibly sneers when Manolo dedicates the bullfight to her, but then she is the only one cheering in the audience when he does not a€?finish the bulla€™ (or kill it, for those not up on the brutality of bullfighting, which Manolo fights against). After the pig stampede, the General sends Maria away to be taught by the nuns to a€?learn to be a proper ladya€? because a€?I said so!a€? and he embraces Joaquin as the masculine a€?Son I never had.a€? However, at the filma€™s end, Joaquin runs off to get his magical medal (which gave him his false strength) and it is Maria who is left behind to rally the village into defending themselves. Second of all she parts by giving each of the boys sage advice knowing their true spirit, and then runs to the train hiding her tears.
At one point, she takes the lead and says to Manolo, a€?Pretty good, guitarista, now ita€™s your turn,a€? and she pushes him into the fray.
A long time member of Women in Animation, Romney hopes to bring more women to the table and on the screen in animation, and more amazing cartoons and memorable characters to audiences. B (her last name actually started with a B, but I like to think it stands for bi%*#h) was my language arts teacher.
If the writing style is dry, or you don’t enjoy the way it is written, choose a different book.
Take the advice of what books to look in to, but then use the above suggestions to determine if you want to read the book.
Then just let yourself escape into the pages and allow the characters, setting, and plot fully develop in your mind.
I would venture to say that the women from the village of San Angel are a€?minority equalsa€?.
She is a character that both women and girls alike are drawn to because of her power and beauty, and they want to be her for Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, and in Cosplay [3]. She is not afraid to take the action that she believes in, and to stand up for those beliefs even in the face of opposition from the entire town. General Posada finally sees the true strength in his own daughter, and says a€?You are like the son I never had, only prettier.a€? Posada follows his daughter into battle to save their town. In the chaos of the stampede she is riding the lead pig, sword held high declaring a€?Freedom is coming through!a€? Manolo is just happily along for the ride, while Joaquin is trying to stop it all. Manoloa€™s future mantra is inscribed on the guitar she gave him a€?Always play from the heart. That wea€™re only here to make men happy?a€? She then dismisses herself from the table, in order to be surrounded by someone a€?more civilized,a€? her pig, Chuy.
The idea of reading a book I did not choose to read or want to read, and then having to write a book report about it was just dreadful. I mean the beach is definitely the perfect place to escape my own mind and relieve the stress of this long and depressing transition.
I for one would rather see little girls dressing up as more goddesses and less princesses, or a€?sexya€™ whatevers. What could be better than simply relaxing on the beach and not worrying about how I am not quite sure where I am going next year, or what to do with my personal life? I wasn’t exactly a fast reader, and the pressure of finishing it in a designated time was too much!
I avoided reading the books fully, didn’t care to find the time to read books outside of homework assignments, and grew to dislike books in general.



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Comments to Book of life movie preview

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