The plot is mostly straightforward and satisfying, with a few twists to keep it fresh. The movie design is bold and unique. In a framing device, schoolchildren visiting a museum are told the story by a docent, using wooden toy figures to illustrate it. We then see the action played out, but the people still are made of wood, with visible, toylike joints. Even given that, many of the characters are extremely stylized, old men in particular tending to have long snoutlike noses, influenced by Basil Wolverton or Mad Magazine. The visions of the lands of the dead are of course based on the folk art prevalent at the Day of the Dead time, with decorated skulls a particular motif. The result is one of the most visually creative and exhilarating films seen in years.
All the voice acting was quite good, with a few surprises (Placido Domingo!). The sound track was also enchantingly eclectic, ranging from mariachi and opera to pop ballads and original pieces.
Most highly recommended and good for most ages. Some scenes may be too intense for the younger viewer.
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