When Disney-Pixar’s Coco was first announced, I have to admit that I wasn’t too terribly excited about it. The concept just didn’t really grab me at first, and while Pixar films are usually pretty solid, apart from Inside Out they haven’t been consistently great in almost a decade.
And when Disney announced that they were pairing the film with a new Frozen holiday short, I kept thinking that maybe they had another Good Dinosaur on their hands and were trying desperately to get people out to the theater by playing the Elsa card.
I’m happy to report that is not the case.
In fact, Coco is one of the best movies Pixar has ever produced.
I won’t spoil the plot too much for you, but the story centers on a Mexican boy named Miguel (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) who is forbidden by his family to play music. This is because music took his his great-great grandfather away, as it’s believed he left his family to pursue his career. When Miguel attempts to steal the guitar of famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) on Día de los Muertos, he is transported to the Land of the Dead. There, he learns some valuable lessons about family, life… and death.
There is so much to love about this film. It’s visually stunning, and makes me look forward to the (rumored) Mexico Pavilion boat ride re-theme. Miguel is an engaging protagonist, and the young actor voicing him has quite a career ahead of him.
The music (by the husband and wife songwriting team behind Frozen) is catchy, and at times, heartbreaking. “Remember Me” is an instant Disney classic.
I really can’t think of many negatives. If I had one complaint it would be that some of the themes and plot twists borrow heavily from other Pixar films (most notably Up.) Some parts may be a little bit frightening for young children, and the theme of death and loss that permeates the film may be too intense for others.
However, Coco is an amazing film. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch it on the big screen if you can.
If Coco doesn’t win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2018, I’ll eat my sombrero.
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