Trailers can be a blessing and a curse. They’re personally my favorite part of going to the theater, but sometimes they give away too much, or too little in some cases. Usually a trailer is what ropes my interest in a particular film and I rely on them, maybe a little too much, for deciding what I should try to check out in the future. I have to tell you, when I got a first look at Pixar’s newest film Coco over the summer, I was not interested at all, which is really surprising actually as I usually have so much faith in Pixar. For some unfathomable reason, I had no desire to go see Coco when it was released. However praise from critics and friends who went to see it convinced me to change my mind and buy myself a ticket. Never have I been so happy to be wrong about a film!
Coco follows music-loving Miguel, who accidentally enters the Land of the Dead and seeks the help of his great-great-grandfather in order to return back to his family among the living.
Coco is Pixar’s best film since Inside Out. For a studio that has heavily focused on sequels in recent years, Coco is a proud return to form to the originality and talent that has made Pixar so beloved to many generations. First of all the animation is simply gorgeous. Once Miguel crosses the intricately detailed bridge of marigolds to the Land of Dead, a magnificent palette of vibrant hues awaits with towering shots of an alternate land that simply took my breath away. I cannot stress enough how visually gorgeous of a film Coco is. The details in every single animation are so well placed and thoughtfully created; it is evident the immense work put into the film.
Perhaps the true reason I praise Coco is its story. Incorporating Mexico and the Day of the Dead holiday into the film allows the filmmakers to fully immerse the viewer and truly celebrate the rich culture. The film is not just about Miguel entering the Land of the Dead and trying to find his way out. It is about a boy with a deep love and talent for music, who has to confront his family’s ancestral ban on all things music. Miguel’s passion is so palpable, but so are his struggles to connect with his beloved family and figure out who he really is. It is an incredible journey for a 12-year-old boy, but one that many viewers can find a piece of themselves in. Miguel’s journey helps him not only understand his family better, but also realize his true gifts as well.
Besides from Miguel’s journey of self-discovery, the film places an incredible emphasis on family, and its warmth is inescapable. With its beautifully crafted story, I found myself having to repress my sobs (I’m actually not kidding this movie made me want to bawl). The heart the film has at its center is so great. The voice acting is excellent as well, with a breakout performance by the young Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel. Benjamin Bratt and Gael García Bernal also lend their voices and do fantastic jobs. The music in the film is worth noting as well, with great singing from the cast! “Remember Me” is an instant classic that should win the Oscar and “Un Poco Loco” is sure to be stuck in the audience’s head for the next few days. Just thinking about “Remember Me” brings back all the feels!
Coco is a film that brought out all of my emotions. With its humor and heart, the film is sure to be enjoyed by audiences of all ages. The animation is even more breathtaking on the big screen so this is a movie I would even recommend seeing in theaters if possible. Coco is the kind of film that reminds me of Pixar’s master storytelling ability and penchant to hit right at the core of self-realization and family. It is a well done film that celebrates Mexican culture, the power of music, and the importance of honoring our loved ones.
ALL IN ALL: Coco is yet another celebrated entry to Pixar’s log, with great warmth and superior animation that builds upon a story of family, music, and heart.
Coco: 5 out of 5 ticket stubs
Director: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Alanna Ubach, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Jaime Camil
Run time: 1 hr 45 min, rated PG