‘Book of Life’ Trailer Looks Unlike Any CG Feature You’ve Seen

The first trailer is out today for The Book of Life directed by Jorge Gutierrez (El Tigre) and produced at Reel FX.

Watch the trailer on iTunes.

The film’s visual style looks completely unique: a joyous assault of color, texture, and pattern—drenched in Mexican mythology and culture—and as close to an uncompromised personal vision as you’ll see in mainstream CG filmmaking.

It’ll be released by Fox in the U.S. on October 17th, 2014:

The Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, The Book of Life, encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.

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  • Alex Irish

    Looks like Pixar’s screwed over. Are they still working on their Día de Muertos movie?

    • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

      Halloween 2015 slot is still open :)

    • DMacB

      That’s set for two or three years later than this… I wouldn’t think that would be much of a problem. Could be just me though, I don’t remember the Newt/Rio dates offhand.

  • http://mattdeanart.com Matt Dean

    Well, how about that. This looks much better than Free Birds!

    On a serious note, consider me impressed. The animation really does look like a CG episode of El Tigre, which is pretty neat. The trailer doesn’t look half bad either. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for this one.

    • Just saying

      Eh, leave Free Birds alone. That project had to take on the problems of an extremely dysfunctional studio in order to pave the path for BOL to even get made.

      • brandon

        Doesn’t quite excuse the fact that the worse animated film of 2013 happened to be their first film out the gate.

        • http://twitter.com/coldmilk coldmilk

          Eh, everyone makes mistakes and Free Birds was a financial success, what matters is if they have learned from it’s narrative shortcomings and in this case, it very much looks like Reel FX has come back swinging.

  • Fabio Vianna

    looks great!! great design, characters and colors. finally something different to see

  • RickyB

    Youtube link in case you can’t view the quicktime one. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AuO8HSG5rM4

    • mick

      That looks wonderfilled… shame about the music. You reckon they got the intern to pick that song? Seems so jarringly bobbins in comparison to the visuals.

  • Mohegan

    I immediately thought ‘This looks like El Tigre.’ No wonder if it’s from the same director. Looks interesting enough. I really like the style!

  • George Comerci

    This is going to be absolutely fantastic. I can’t wait!

  • Michael

    This is the film Jorge Guitierrez has been wanting to make for decades now, and the imagery is s literal translation of his super-vibrant personality. I do believe that however people view the film in relation to Pixar’s, his genuine experience and passion for the culture will make a huge difference.

  • John

    Neat. Looks fantastic, can’t wait to see a trailer of it.

  • Max C.

    God damn it, there are so many CG flicks that are visually pushing more boundaries than Pixar in recent years, no matter how good they may be. I hope Reel FX gives a forgivable enough apology for Free Birds.

  • Mr.Krabbs

    This idea was in existence well before Pixar even developed “Finding Nemo”.

    • Pedro Nakama

      Yes… I believe they talked about it in the famous coffee shop meeting right after Toy Story was finished.

  • https://vimeo.com/channels/wharton Brett Wharton

    I am not particularly in love with the style yet – “assault” is definitely the right word for it – but I applaud Reel FX for doing something unique. Does anyone else find it just a little too overwhelming visually? That said, I never liked the style of some Tim Burton movies until I saw the actual movies, so it could work wonderfully for all I know.

    • mick

      it looks overwhelming in the stills but seeing it move is much more agreeable

    • jonhanson

      Overwhelming visually? I’ll take that over most of the animated films that are underwhelming.

      Everything has a nice sheen and it’s well done but it’s been too long since I’ve seen CG animation look like this! I want cartoons that look cartoony and this hits the spot.

  • http://the-animatorium.blogspot.com/ Natalie Belton

    Wow, what a great ethnically inspired style! The only still I’m not so keen on is the 4th one down. The girl in the image seems out of place compared to the other characters. Must be something about the eyes.

  • Rudy

    Pretty excited to see new work from Mr. Gutierrez; I used to love El Tigre! I also enjoyed his pilot for “Carmen Got Expelled.” I look forward to seeing this film.

  • Ceebs

    I hope it moves as well as it looks. So tired of the Pixar house style.

    • tt

      what IS a Pixar house style? all of their films have completely different designs?

    • someone entertain me

      I used a burger joint that I didn’t like so I stopped eating there. It was real difficult crying into my bun unti I found there was a whole world of OTHER burgers I could eat

  • paul o’flanagan

    3D Gutierrez! Looks fantastic. Congrats Jorge and crew

  • http://pickledperfection.blogspot.com/ Andrea K Haid

    Looks excitingly different!

  • Kis N

    The main girl looks like a Bratz doll…

    • schwarzgrau

      they try to create something original on nearly every character, but even in films for children they always have to exploit the “sexy” big eyes, big head, skinny body cliché.

    • Ignoranimus

      All the female characters look the same, in fact…

  • Toonio

    Corpse Bride goes south…. of the border

  • Mike Scott

    Love it.

  • jhalpernkitcat

    Okay, I’ve actually forgotten about this one–Heard about it vaguely, but did not know it was coming out this year. This one looks pretty amazing–the designs are unique for a CGI film, the sidekick character in the first screenshot kind of looks almost like a wooden puppet, which is pretty neat. Also, the spirit characters have incredible designs–especially the skeleton woman–she’s absolutely gorgeous.

    I must admit though, the idea of having to go to three different worlds to face ones fears kind of reminds me vaguely of the plot out of “The Pagemaster.”

    However, this one looks like it has a lot of fun and flavor–putting this one on my list of films I want to see–right next to How To Train Your Dragon Two and The Box Trolls.

  • tt

    can we not bash Pixar while talking about other films? Pixar isn’t a god, theyre handled by humans. sooner or later they’ll trip. u don’t see the great Walt Disney having hits after hits…….. give Pixar a break.

    • Bob Harper

      I am not a proponent of Pixar bashing, but they have had been given plenty of breaks. And with the recent controversy of Disney trying to trademark Day of the Dead to “protect” a Pixar feature, it isn’t surprising that there would be some backlash from those in the animation community.

    • Duane

      Pleeeeeeaaaaaase, give us a break with Pixar, ok we got it. ;)

  • GW

    It looks much better than Gutierrez’s 2D work with his awkward angular characters. I don’t know how good the story will be from just the one trailer, however.

  • Tomm

    Super cool design and atmosphere , so lush . Amazingly big step away from the hyper real style in cg towards a more design orientated approach . Great to see.

  • Casey

    Wow. It’s fantastic to see Gutierrez’s style perfectly translated into 3D. These shots look fantastic!

  • mick

    Looks like a glorious head ache. I’m in with bells (pom poms, embroidery, skulls, sticky out bits and skulls) on

  • Hankenshift

    Looks good for a low budget overseas production. The art direction/production design is all over the map busy in a very bad way–especially the color. But since it’s a just a trailer, I’ll give it a pass. It’s certainly leagues better than that cheap flop free birds. Who knows if it’s target audience of kids will go for it. They didn’t go for that awful Corpse Bride.

    • David Vallone

      This wasn’t an over seas production. Yes there is a lot of color and the designs are pushes beyond what’s been out there in the mainstream film market as of late. This in my mind represents a nice departure from the norm and captures the culture of the Latino community and Mexico specifically.

  • Jorge R. Gutierrez

    Thanks for all the kind words to all the kind word givers!!! It is because of the amazing and hard working crew that the film looks like this. I am solely responsible for anything you don’t like. This I swear!

    • James VanDam

      This film looks like a fiesta of colors and shapes, every still shot up there is stunning. I can’t wait to see it all come to life on the silver screen. PS Loved your show El Tigre

    • brandon

      Believe you me, between this and HTTYD2, this is turning out to be an exciting year in animation.

    • OdysseyTag

      Absolutely fantastic – this film draws away from all the generic styles we’ve been seeing in animated feature films as of late, as @james_vandam:disqus said, the explosion of colours used in this film make it one to remember. Definitely one to look forward to!

  • Alex Dudley

    I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while but I’m a little worried. On one hand this looks gorgeous, and is done by the guy who made El Tigre, one of my favorite Nicktoons of all time.
    On the other hand, the trailer wowed me visually, but the story from what I’ve read the story seems awfully busy, and I didn’t laugh much at what was shown in the trailer.
    Also, the fact that the studio behind this also made Free Birds hurts it a bit as well.
    I still hope to see this though. I’ll just have to wait to see more footage.

  • Eduardo

    Hey all – I’m one of the lighters on this show, and I’m just gonna say, at least two of my favorite sequences from the film aren’t even in this trailer. Can’t wait to show more!

    BTW – I wouldn’t pay TOO much attention to the structure of the trailer. Or the music. Personally, I don’t think it’s a great representation of the film, but I’m too proud of the visuals to care much :-D

  • DangerMaus

    CG features where the hair doesn’t move totally makes the animation look cut-rate.

    • RickyB

      Yes! Makes it feel so wooden! Oh wait…

      • DangerMaus

        I missed something here. Are they supposed to be puppets? They looked like flesh and blood humans to me.

  • Gosh

    For all that hard work on those designs. To make them stand out. To make it look like a crayon bomb went off in this animated world…they come up with this poor excuse of a story? I mean i see those designs, and i see all this potential to do something genuinely fun, not stupid kid silly commercial fun, but cool adventure fun. Something that can be taken seriously, and push the boundaries of animation as well as filmmaking in general against live action movies. Something with dramatic flare just like the designs suggest. I mean for christ sake, the holiday is called the day of the dead. Please! for the love of god give me an interesting synopsis that a 13 year old babysitter cannot come up with while texting her BFF while she’s watching The Bachelorette.

  • Speedy

    I didn’t realize my friends at Reel were so busy. It feels like just yesterday they released Free Birds.

  • Roberto Severino

    I don’t know about all of you guys, but this looks really cool for the most part. Very excited for this.

  • Gene Vandervoort

    When you skimp on character design, you are left with nothing…..but fluff

  • Carlos Almeida

    the music ruined the experience

  • doug

    Great to see filmmakers do a feature in CG and adopt a different style. I’ve been hoping this for awhile and that makes me truly happy. I hope the story is way more interesting than is represented here in this trailer because I’m not feeling compelled to see it, so far.

  • Jimmy go

    Grim Fandango

  • Roberto Severino

    Thank you for being honest. There probably are a few exceptions to the rule but there definitely is an overall house style.

  • Steven Bowser

    For a moment, I thought this was the “Dia De Los Muertos” film planned by Pixar.