“Book of Life” and NaNo countdown…

Published October 31, 2014 by Iphis of Scyros

So, instead of hanging out at my parents’ place to avoid trick-or-treaters, I went to my parents’ place and then we all went to see a movie, specifically “Book of Life.”  Which turned out to be completely awesome!  As usual, the people making the trailers had no idea how to market it, so they made trailers for a different, much lesser movie.  Though I’ve seen trailers that were even more misrepresentational, but the “Book of Life” trailers were still pretty far off.  Especially since they made out like Ice Cube’s role (which was barely more than a cameo, really) to be one of the central parts of the film.  I think that was because his character made the marketing people feel comfortable, because he was so very modern USA, whereas everyone else was very much 19th century-ish Mexico.  That made the character jarring to me, personally, all the more so since he–being made of wax–was very fluid and rounded, whereas all the other characters were wooden puppets or skeletons, and thus very disjointed, and many of them possessing corners as well.

In any case, the story itself was sweet, charming, and much more complex than the trailers would have had us believe.  Two things especially stand out that the trailer fell short on.  One was the rival character, Joaquin.  The trailer made it sound like he was entirely flat and purely antagonistic, like Beauty and the Beast‘s Gaston, only even more hollow and pointless.  In truth, he’s the hero’s life-long best friend, and their rivalry over the heroine was tearing them apart both as friends and within.  Okay, sure, it’s still a standard situation, but it’s a lot more interesting.  The other place the trailer fell short was the fact that it didn’t even show the two rulers of the two distinct realms of the afterlife, La Muerta (or was it Muertilla?) and Xibalba.  For that matter, I’m not sure the trailer even showed the worse afterlife, the Land of the Forgotten, at all.  Xibalba was particularly interesting to me, because that’s the name of the Mayan afterlife.  When I next get a chance, I need to look up the Day of the Dead, and see if there is a tradition of an unpleasant ruling character named Xibalba.  That would be really fascinating from an anthropological standpoint.

Anyway, being who I am, I couldn’t help but see certain parallels to Greek myths.  I can’t talk about the Orpheus parallel I saw, because it’s a spoiler, coming from very late in the picture, but I think it’s safe to talk about the one I saw in Xibalba and La Muerta:  as they’re apparently estranged lovers (or spouses?) they immediately put me in mind of Hades and Persephone, though obviously very inaccurately so, since Hades and Persephone are never estranged as such (though they are often parted, except according to the Odyssey poet) and Hades rules over the regular afterlife, not Tartaros.  (In fact, sometimes someone else entirely has control over Tartaros, and it’s entirely out of Hades’ control.)  Overall, despite that Xibalba is a bit the villain of the piece, he still gets a better shake than any other ruler of a “bad” afterlife I’ve ever seen in a movie.

In any case, before I change the subject, let me just say that if you’re reading this and you haven’t seen it, you should go see it!  Go on Nov. 2nd, the Day of the Dead.  That would be appropriate.

There was a funny bit during the trailers that I want to point out.  Two trailers ran back to back with deliciously appropriate timing.  The first was one of those “inspiring real-life stories,” in this case one about students trying to build robots.  Then the very next trailer begins with a video log of a young man building a robot; it was a new (or at least one I hadn’t seen before) trailer for “Big Hero 6.”  The combination was quite funny.  That movie about the students trying to build robots, though…it’s called “Spare Parts.”  I can’t…I can’t take it.  “Spare Parts.”  I know why they picked it, and I’m sure it’s the “right” title for the picture, but….I associate that title with something very different.

You see, I’m a “Doctor Who” fan, right?  (In fact, I’m watching “The Moonbase” right now.  I was at a local used store that was having a “buy 2 get 1 free” sale, and found it used.  Probably sold back by the same person who sold back “Web of Fear” and “Enemy of the World.”  I can understand selling back “Web of Fear” since the most important episode is still missing, and the visual effects were a bit lack-luster, but selling back “Enemy of the World?”  I just don’t get it!  I’d say it’s one of the best of Troughton’s entire run!)  Anyway, Big Finish Audio has been putting out audio “Doctor Who” adventures for some time.  And one of the fifth Doctor adventures was called “Spare Parts,” and it’s one of the best and most intense Cyberman stories ever.

Ah…still an hour to go before NaNo begins!

Dang, I want to get writing!  I’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time now!

I guess I’ll post another excerpt of Ilios to deviantART while I’m waiting…

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