Salma is a 16-year-old orphan who has never met her biological parents. Meanwhile, her two foster brothers, Jorge and Pedro, discover an ancient book of stories and spells which could be the missing link to her mysterious past. Together, they embark on a journey of adventures with friendly ghosts, adorable skull babies, and a mysterious wizard who claims the answers to Salma’s past are in the underworld where the dead live.
It had been two years since Mama Julieta left her son, Chiqui, and her husband, Papa Diego, to pursue her vocal talent in “The Beyond.” On the Day of the Dead, Chiqui and Papa Diego venture into The Beyond to find Mama Julieta and bring her home.
For two years, Mama Julieta has been training for the biggest vocal competition in the universe, which is held every year on the Day of the Dead: The Greatest Singer Beyond the Beyond. Erasma Bones, the competition winner for the last ten thousand years, is Mama Julieta’s only rival. Mama Julieta has a lot on the line—if she loses the competition she will have to stay in The Beyond for the rest of eternity, never to return to the living world. Erasma seems to be willing to stop at nothing to secure her winning title and make sure Mama Julieta does not go home with her family.
While the storyline of Dia of the Dead is heartwarming, it does lack in some creative elements. The animation does not always line up with the audio; for example, the characters mouths do not move in sync with their words. In some cases, Papa Diego’s words are difficult to understand. Many scenes are fairly long and do not change setting at all—even the background characters tend to repeat the same actions in a loop. In addition to this, some aspects of the story are not fully explained. Papa Diego, Chiqui and Mama Julieta all wear masks for the entirety of the film. The only explanation for this is that the masks give them strength to avoid captivity.
Dia of the Dead has a unique storyline in which a father and son battle fear and rivalry to bring Mama Julieta home. However, its setting in “The Beyond” raises some minor concerns as it creates its own version of an afterlife that leaves no room for the Biblical Heaven and Hell. On a more positive note, some parallels could be drawn between Momo, the Reaper, and Satan, as well as El Monstruo, whom they rely on for guidance, and God. While the film has no Christian themes, one could discuss it from the lens of a parable in order to shed light on some Biblically related ideas.
Overall, Dia of the Dead is a film that exemplifies superior familial bonds. Its story is one that is unlike any other with dialogue and settings that are sure to make the whole family laugh. With clean humor, healthy competition, and obvious dedication to loved ones, Dia of the Dead gives parents a platform to discuss the value of family with their children and to spend an evening with a lighthearted animated film, making this film Dove-approved for All Ages.
The Dove Take:
Dia of the Dead is a family film full of clean humor that is sure to demonstrate the importance of family bonds and prompt conversations regarding the afterlife between parents and children.