The Day of the Dead is given a spectacular spotlight with Fox's latest animated adventure The Book of Life. This vibrant family movie from Jorge R. Gutierrez centers on the love triangle of a guitar-playing bull fighter, a vain soldier and a brainy maiden, voiced by Diego Luna, Channing Tatum and Zoe Saldana respectively.
Our theatrical review will weigh in on whether or not this new release is worth your time, while this column will focus solely on the film's use of 3D. Considering seven separate categories, To 3D Or Not To 3D evaluates the full scope of the 3D viewing experience. Think of it as a consumer's guide for your movie-going, complete with a viewers poll where you can weigh in on how you plan to see Book Of Life.
CGI animation has an advantage over live-action when it comes to 3D translation, as its planes are already established without the need of 3D cameras. From a technical level, Book of Live was primed for 3D from its inception. And Twentieth Century Fox is well acquainted with how to produce animation with this device, thanks to Rio 2, Epic, and Ice Age: Continental Drift. Then on an artistic level, Book of Life has production design that's sprawling and full of texture (like the wood of the marionette heroes), all great for the enhanced depth 3D brings.
Planning & Effort Score
Considering the financial boost that 3D gives animated films, we can safely assume that The Book of Life's development included 3D as soon as Fox Animation picked it up from producer Guillermo del Toro. As the first feature from animator turned director Jorge R. Gutierrez, he was new to the rigors of making a 3D movie. But between Fox and del Toro, he had a solid support system for this potentially rough learning curve, and it shows. There's well-plotted use of 3D, and no camera moves that fight the device's effectiveness.
Before the Window Score
This is 3D's most gimmicky element in that it's the one that makes objects appear to leap out at you. I noticed some rose petals and characters protruding slightly, but nothing on the level that it made me jump back in my seat or anything.
Beyond the Window Score
On the other end of the spectrum, this category speaks to the aspect of 3D that makes the movie's world seem to stretch far into and beyond the theater's screen. There are three separate worlds within the film, that of the living, that of the remembered, and that of the forgotten. Each is designed with depth clearly in mind, offering tangibility with streets that look crisp and begging to be tread upon, and buildings towering and at times dizzying.
3D glasses inherently dim the picture of your movie. But a worthwhile 3D print has its brightness bumped up to compensate. The Book of Life is full of light and color, and the 3D version doesn't lose a thing to those dingy glasses.
Glasses Off Score
This is an extremely rudimentary test to show in the basest terms how much 3D you're getting on screen. Take the glasses off, and observe the blur, which will reveal the different perspective being manipulated to create the 3D effect. Every time I dared test The Book of Life, it passed with flying colors and blurs aplenty.
Audience Health Score
Bad 3D can be bad for you, causing headaches, eyestrain or nausea. But The Book of Life is carefully made so that this tale of life and death won't hurt your eyes or mess with your insides, though it might warm your heart.
3D SCORES RECAP
P & E
Before The Window
Beyond The Window
Glasses Off Test
Final Verdict: As is evident, the 3D of The Book of Life is well executed and satisfying, bringing some additional spectacle to this lively kids' movie without any of the device's common drawbacks. It's nothing on the level of Gravity or Life of Pi in its 3D ambitions. But if you're eager to see The Book of Life, I'd suggest paying the extra couple of bucks for the 3D ticket.
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Staff writer at CinemaBlend.
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