The Book of Life ***Dir: Jorge R. Gutierrez. With the voices of: Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum. 95 mins. Cert: U
This animated compendium of legends attached to the Mexican Day of the Dead, produced by Guillermo del Toro for rookie director Jorge Gutierrez, sports gorgeous, marionette-inspired character design – mucho love has gone into the matadors’ bespoke jackets – and a palette so warm you feel yourself developing tanlines around your 3D specs. Elsewhere, its enthusiasm proves double-edged. So much diversion is crammed into these 95 minutes – charging bulls, cute piglets, stereoscopic mazerunning, Latin-tinged covers of Radiohead and Clan Mumford – that the central love triangle can scarcely take grip: it’s chasing emotion, which is welcome, but at processor speed, which means it often runs straight past or through it. The air of breathless romanticism is far from unappealing, but it still generates something of a data dump: you sense mainstream animation will only emerge from its rut when it calms down long enough to appreciate the wonders it’s engineering for itself.
The Book of Life opens in cinemas nationwide today.