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YMMV / The Book of Life

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  • Abandon Shipping: After the movie’s release, a lot of fans speculated that Manolo’s great grandmother Anita was the wife of one of his late ancestors, Jorge. They all quickly jumped ship once Word of God revealed that they were actually siblings.
  • Accidental Innuendo: During "I Love You Too Much": "I live for your touch, I whisper your name night after night..."
  • Adorkable
    • Manolo Luis Sanchez. Either when he's serenading Maria or whenever a humorous catastrophe befalls him.
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    • Joaquin Emilio Mondragon Jr. crosses into this territory when he's thinking about Maria or talking about his cool mustache.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Did General Posada truly think he was acting in Maria's best interests when he tried setting her up with Joaquin, or was he using her as a bargaining chip to buy San Angel protection that Joaquin was already willing to provide?
    • Did La Muerte tell the detention kids this story to help them become better people, or was it so that the people of San Angel would continue to be remembered and thus remain in The Land of The Remembered?
    • Did Manolo ask to die only to join Maria, or was he also Driven to Suicide because of all the scorn he received?
    • When Pancho Rodriguez says that even his wife reacts well to one bawdy song, Pepe's reaction could indicate either surprise that Pancho is married in the first place (like their brother Pablo) or about the song's effect on Pancho's wife.
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  • Americans Hate Tingle: Despite arriving at the start of the half-term break the movie failed to get in to the Top 3 at the U.K. box-office – debuting at fourth placenote . Then the following week it dropped to fifth placenote , despite that week being both half-term (when kids would be out of school and thus have more free time to see the movie) and the week leading up to Halloween (thematically appropriate to the film’s subject matter).
  • And You Thought It Would Fail: When the movie was initially announced, many thought it would be sure failure simply because it was set in Mexico and the cast were mainly Hispanic. By the end of its' release, not only did the movie mainly positive reviews but also made back its' budget. And now, there are two sequels in the works.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Carmen is weirdly biase with her son having died young, even before he tells him he's waiting to encounter his fiancee there.
    • By the end of the story, Manolo's entire family is dead. You'd think that would affect him somehow, but he doesn't seem to be bothered by it that much.
  • Anvilicious: This film makes no bones about its mission to take a sledgehammer to some of the nastier aspects of Latin American culture (bullfighting, machismo, etc.).
  • Award Snub: Some fans were disheartened to hear that the movie failed to secure any Oscar nominations for the 2015 ceremony.
  • Awesome Art: Jorge Gutierrez did a fantastic job of translating his signature artstyle into 3D. And that's not even getting into how the Land of the Remembered looks.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The Lightning Reveal of Skeleton!Manolo. It's basically there to get a cool-looking shot, coming with no warning or explanation and never being mentioned afterwards.
  • Captain Obvious Reveal: That Mary Beth was going to be revealed at the end as La Muerte in disguise is something the viewer was surely seeing coming from a mile.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Manolo's cousins, the skeleton bandita looking Adelita twins are popular for their design. Their personalities also help.
    • Both La Muerte and Xibalba have gained a lot fan love for their unique and complicated designs, their own personalities, and intriguing relationship with each other. A lot of fans are interested in a movie solely focusing on the couple.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: The Candlemaker looks nothing like the rest of the cast (he looks oddly more like Disney's Zeus), sounds nothing like the rest of the cast (he's one of the few major characters not voiced by a Hispanic actor), and acts nothing like the rest of the cast.
  • Fandom Rivalry:
    • Was engaged in a minor one with Frozen, due to accusations that Tumblr was ignoring this film in favor of that one and threatening its financial success.
    • Also with Big Hero 6, due to the fact that both were released in the US about a month apart but Big Hero 6 did much better at the box office. It got fueled even more when Big Hero 6 won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature where The Book Of Life wasn't even nominated.
    • When Pixar announced Coco, there was a lot of hot debate about whether or not Coco is a direct ripoff of (some going so far as to claim that Pixar stole the idea from Gutierreznote ). For what it's worth, however, Gutierrez had expressed excitement for the movie and has continuously given nothing but praise for the film. There were also a number of fans equally excited.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • How Chakal got the medallion from Xibalba was glossed over, so are the details of how the Lands of the Remembered and Forgotten work. In fact, just the Land of the Forgotten itself.
    • The reveal through Word of God, that there are a few other afterlives, like the Land Of The Unknown and the Land Of the Cursed as well as revealing that La Muerte has a twin sister, La Noche, who rules the Land of The Unknown, and that Xibalba has an older brother, who rules the Land of the Cursed, a hell like domain. Can probably fuel fics, for a long time.
    • Just take a look at the Word of God section; there is enough information to fuel fics for a long time.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • The fandom boasts multiple crossover fanarts, especially with Spongebob Squarepants.
    • This movie has sparked a lot more interest in the Pixar movie Coco that is also based on the Day of the Dead. The movie originally had a lot of flack from many wondering how you could even make a movie about the holiday, but The Book of Life proved you could make a good movie that wasn't just a Halloween redress.
    • Unsurprising, considering the mutual love for friendly, skeletal protagonists, but a lot of The Nightmare Before Christmas fans love the film. A common headcanon is that La Muerte is related to Jack Skellington, perhaps his mother or sister.
    • Kubo and the Two Strings also gets a lot of love from Book of Life fans due to the films' similar themes and fledgling cult status. The friendship between Gutierrez and Kubo creator Shannon Tindle helps as well.
  • Genius Bonus: The character designs of the soldiers of the town militia are based on the styles of several famous Spanish painters, the most surreal-looking characters being based on Picasso and Dali.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Going from a couple posts on Jorge's Tumblr, the film seems to have been well received in Italy and Taipei.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Joaquin's relationship with his Disappeared Dad became this when Jorge revealed on Twitter that pretty much the entire rest of the town thought he had gone crazy in his obsession with fighting Chakal. All that bread set around his father's monument? All made by Joaquin himself. No one else wanted to put in the effort to honor him.
    • Manolo having a moral dilemma over killing bulls (and facing some definitely murderous ones) is this when the film was broadcast on Channel 4 on June 18, 2017, the same day a matador was gored to death by the bull he was fighting.
  • Ho Yay:
    • Upon seeing La Muerte and Xibalba for the first time, Goth Kid's first reaction is calling them both beautiful.
    • There's some between Manolo and Joaquin. For starters, the first time they were shown together as adults, they engage in a bear hug with Joaquin outright lifting the former over his head.
    • Joaquin doesn't seem to be lacking in terms of both male and female admirers.
  • Idiosyncratic Ship Naming: The fandom has come up with quite a few:
    • "Gravepainters" for La Muerte and Xibalba.
    • "Tres Leches" for the friendship (or polyship) between Manolo, Maria, and Joaquin.
    • "Toro Tango" for Carlos and Carmen, Manolo's parents.
    • Manolo/Maria is "Musical Hearts."
  • Jerkass Woobie: Joaquin. On one hand he's fairly smug, has an air of Entitled to Have You towards Maria, and is a bit of a sexist. On the other hand he also had his father killed, his mother walk out on him right afterward, seems to be a predominately good person whose negative traits came from peer pressure/trying to live up to his father, and whether he knows it or not he's a Hopeless Suitor to the girl he's loved most of his life. He also lost his best friend who was like a brother to him and is being pressured to marry his other best friend when he clearly doesn't want to since they're both grieving, especially since she said she was only marrying him to get him to stay. It is worth pointing out that he moves more and more away from the "jerkass" bit as the movie goes on: when Maria calls him out of his sexism he's the only one in the room who listens, and tries to reach her through Hidden Depths, he also shows that he wants Maria to sincerely marry him, as he tries to dissuade her when she's pressured into it by her fater, and Word of God confirms he would have said "no" for that reason, hadn't the marriage be suddenly interrupted, and there's his attempted Heroic Sacrifice in the end. Luckly, the fact that both him and Manolo attempt it ends up saving them both, but he still loses an eye.
  • Just Here for Godzilla:
    • Some fans are more interested in Xibalba and La Muerte's story and relationship than that of Manolo, Joaquin, and Maria.
    • Some people are also intrigued more by the gorgeous art style and animation as opposed to the story/dialogue.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Land of the Forgotten ruler Xibalba grows bored of his reign and makes a wager for their kingdoms with the Land of the Remembered ruler La Muerte, concerning a Love Triangle between Manolo, Joaquin and Maria, Xibalba betting on Joaquin winning Maria's heart and Le Muerte on Manolo. Disguising himself as a beggar, Xibalba gives Joaquin a medal to make him immortal; later causes Maria to fall into a coma during Manolo's attempt at a heartfelt confession; and leads Manolo to his death. Though outed for his cheating, Xibalba then creates a new bet with Manolo having fight against all the bulls his bull fighting family fought in the past and gracefully accepts his defeat after he does so, honoring his deal and reconciling with La Muerte.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Narm:
    • The use of contemporary songs is jarring for many viewers, and can turn otherwise somber scenes into comedic ones. Even among those who are relatively fine with the rest of the songs, Manolo singing Radiohead's "Creep" stands out the most, though. It's just so recognizable, and exceptionally out of place considering the setting.
    • Carlos' death scene happens so quickly and is almost entirely forgotten about after it happens. It could've been an effective Tear Jerker, but in the end, one is likely confused about what just happened.
  • Older Than They Think: There are more than a few similarities with Once On This Island; albeit with a Mexican Gender-Flip.
  • OT3:
    • Joaquin/Maria/Manolo (better known as Tres Leches) is pretty popular since all three are great people who remain good friends even after the whole Triangle thing gets resolved. Even Jorge has admitted to loving the ship, occasionally posts pictures on his Tumblr, encouraged stories for it at least one, and joked about it being his original intent!
    • Joaquin and The Adelita twins, due to the twins showing a lot of interest in him, mixed a bit with Pair the Spares.
  • The Scrappy: Despite his positive qualities, almost no one in the fandom is willing to defend General Posada.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Manolo's cousins, the Adelita Twins who fought during the revolution and are also the only badass Sanchezes to not be bullfighters. Only got two scenes.
    • Joaquin's dad is talked about a lot but never makes an appearance which leads to all sorts of Fanon.
    • Xibalba is built up as the main villain... only to be quickly given a Heel–Face Turn so that the comparatively boring Chakal can take center stage.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • In the climax, several members of the Land of the Remembered come back to fight Chakal. Many viewers were disappointed that Joaquin's dad didn't come back to fight Chakal, seeing as they were Arch-Enemy to one another in life. This was eventually explained as Joaquin Sr. being in the Land of the Unknown.
    • The Land of the Remembered and Land of the Forgotten are themselves practically thrown away; the Land of the Remembered at least has a lengthy sequence devoted to it, but the Land of the Forgotten is on screen for barely five minutes. For a film built around the afterlife, the actual afterlife plays a nearly negligible part in its own story. note 
    • Seeing Posada's Butt-Monkey, Lovable Coward soldiers get a brief moment of toughness when they get the Medal Of Everlasting Life could have been interesting and funny. Instead they keep running away and quickly drop it.
  • Trailer Joke Decay:
    • "There's no one that big, man!"
    • The "Just A Friend" scene.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The film seems to want the viewer to feel sympathy for child María when she frees the animals, and she certainly acts as if her punishment of being educated in Spain is unfair... only that her father is completely right at this, and it could be entertained that he was actually being too generous to her: her act basically left the city wrecked, and it is almost a miracle that nobody died or ended up grievously wounded. That she never gets called out on this only seals it.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: Some think of Manolo as this. His characterization doesn't go far beyond his passion for music, dislike of bullfighting and love for Maria, he's generally upstaged by the entertaining Xibalba and morally conflicted Joaquin, with the only other character trait he has is being a Nice Guy. This is quite ironic, given that this is his movie, with the potential sequels planning to focus on Joaquin and Maria respectively.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The Land of the Remembered - nay, the entire film in terms of visuals is absolutely stunning!
  • The Woobie: Manolo. Imagine if you were shoved into something you had no interest in, while everyone in your family AND village spat on your true ambition. And to make it worse, you're tricked into suicide because two gods placed a bet to see whether you or your best friend/love rival would marry the girl of your dreams and the god betting against you is a Sore Loser of the highest order. At least it gets better.


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