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No retreat, no surrender!
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Movie

  • Manolo standing up to a giant living statue in the Land of the Forgotten. When the statue tries to crush him with its sword, the sword shatters around him as though hitting a force field.
    • Made more awesome by the fact that the statue judges all who crosses the border between the Land of the Remembered and the Land of the Forgotten, and the sword shatters because Manolo's soul is stronger than it. (This is Arguably because in childhood La Muerte blessed him with a heart that will always be pure and courageous...but he was already that way when she said that).
    • Before meeting the statue, Manolo has to pass the statue's test - a giant labyrinth that tilts in any direction with three giant stone balls threatening to crush all who run the labyrinth. Manolo passes this by using his bullfighting skills to avoid getting crushed.
  • During the climax, Chakal holds Maria hostage, and forces Joaquin and Manolo to surrender if they don't want her hurt. Roughly two minutes later, Maria flipkicks Chakal, a guy who’s probably about twenty feet tall and proceeded to pull off a perfect landing. And mentions to Manolo and Joaquin that she learned kung-fu during her travels. Manolo can't help but smile at the sight.
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  • Young Manolo subduing the boar early on in the film.
  • Manolo's fight against a horde of large demonic skeletal bulls in a fiery arena. All the bulls merge to form a giant demonic skeletal bull that sets itself on fire and represents the rage of every bull his ancestors killed, and he has to kill that bull if he wants to survive and get his life back. Does he kill it? No. He sings a song asking for forgiveness. He wins. Even Xibalba is impressed.
  • Maria gets a small but significant one when she tells Manolo that it'll take more than just a Grand Romantic Gesture to win her over.
    • Earlier, her shutting down the sexist soldiers at the party.
      • Joaquin also get a moment after Maria does her moment of awesome in this scene by punching one of his sexist soldier lackies for making an inappropriate comment about Maria. Plus, he doesn't act like misogynistic asshole and try to defend himself, and just listens to Maria's shutdown of his attitude.
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  • Manolo gets right up in Xibalba's face when he realizes that he cheated and tricked him.
  • When Manolo is granted life once again by La Muerte and Xibalba, shooting him up from the Land of the Remembered back to the living world. He smashes through the ground, right before Chakal and the townspeople of San Angel, then takes the chance to give Maria The Big Damn Kiss, and not even letting Chakal ruin the moment.
  • Manolo and Maria vs Chakal. With a Fastball Special (and a big-ass bell).
  • Manolo and all of the deceased Sanchez demonstrate they're a bad ass family.
    • Made possible by La Muerte and Xibalba using the "leeway" they have on Day of the Dead to bring the Sanchez ancestors back to defend their home.
  • Carlos's Dying Moment of Awesome
    • Note that when he hears the army is coming, he doesn't flinch, doesn't hesitate. He draws his swords and says "Who wants to go first?" When Chakal steps forward, he doesn't step back.
  • Carmen Sanchez slapping Xibalba. Three times.
    • Bonus points to La Muerte for levitating Carmen to do so.
  • The Sanchez Ancestors filling in as The Cavalry near the climax.
  • The fact that the Adelita twins fought and won a revolution.
  • Though not exactly a heroic or good moment, Xibalba manages to find Manolo's greatest fear just by looking him straight in the eyes.
  • La Muerte's Skyward Scream after she found out Xibalba cheated. Crosses into Nightmare Fuel territory, but still pretty awesome, nonetheless.
  • Mary-Beth managing to dodge the spitballs from the Detention Kids. With just a tour guide sign. Though, that's not surprising, considering she's really La Muerte in disguise.
  • Manolo's first bullfight at nine. He makes it look so. Easy.
  • Joaquin's intended Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Maria's Rousing Speech to the town when Chakal arrives.
  • The brief moment in which the town Priest grabs a hold of the Medal of Everlasting Life and proceeds to unleash Seven kinds of Hell upon the Chakal men with wrestling moves (including a mask).
  • Just about any moment that La Muerte calls out Xibalba for his malicious and selfish ways. It's so satisfying and hilarious at the same time.
  • Maria effortlessly stopping a fight, albeit a playful one, between Manolo and Joaquin.

Word of God

Meta

  • The story of how they were able to use "Creep": Jorge Gutierrez had been dead-set on using the song for the film, but Guillermo del Toro actually told him not to do it, as the band wasn't exactly giving the rights to their songs away. He told Jorge that he had asked to get the rights for the song for Hellboy years ago and they wouldn't let him use it. So, apropos of nothing, Jorge sent the band a message explaining how he wanted to use the song, and he got a message back a few days later that basically said, "You understand the idea of what this song is supposed to represent, so yes, you can use this song in your movie."
  • Gutierrez spent over 14 years trying to get this movie off the ground. In addition, he also wrote the film's art book and animated all of the 2-D sequences by himself.
  • The Book of Life made top 11 of 2014 films!
  • At the 2014 Annie Awards, the film got 5 nominations, one of them being for Best Character Design, which they ultimately won.
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