(Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)
“Coco” is a movie that every family should see together. Not only does this movie provide the perspective of a culture outside of the U.S., but it reminds us how valuable family is.
“Coco” tells the story of Miguel, a young Mexican musician born into a shoemaking family, who struggles to suppress his passion for music in a family where music is entirely banned. The story takes place during Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), and an interesting series of events pulls Miguel into the world of the dead, where he must find his legendary musician grandfather to help send him back home to his family.“Coco” is a movie that every family should see together. Not only does this movie provide the perspective of a culture outside of the U.S., but it reminds us how valuable family is.
Pixar movies have always been known for their high-quality visuals and graphics with moving story telling, and their 19th movie “Coco” is no exception. This movie is visually stunning. From the more obvious visuals like the beautiful cityscape of the colorful land of the dead, to the subtle details like the freckles on Miguel’s cheeks and the movement of his hair, “Coco” goes above and beyond industry standards to create a beautiful looking film.
Aside from the talking skeletons and the teleporting to and from the land of the dead, “Coco” is very realistic. The characters of the family act and talk like real family members. The dialogue feels very real and the story feels very relatable, even for those who cannot relate to the celebration of the Day of the Dead. Younger members of the audience can feel Miguel’s frustration when his family tells him he is not allowed to do what he is passionate about, and older members can probably relate to the family’s concern to protect Miguel and do what is best for him.
The film’s biggest flaw is predictability. Granted, this movie’s intended audience includes children, but this is not really a serious issue. With that being said, even if the direction the film is going in is clear, the creators of this film execute it so well that they it lands more satisfyingly than one might expect.
When viewing a Pixar movie in theaters, audiences can count on seeing an original Pixar short animated film before the actual movie begins as Pixar has been doing this consistently for many years. Before “Coco” plays however, fans will be forced to watch a painfully long, 21 minute short film called “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure,” featuring the characters from Disney’s “Frozen.” The story is very annoying and seemingly endless, especially since audiences are accustomed to Pixar shorts being about five minutes long, sitting through “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure” will probably be grueling to those who are not huge fans of “Frozen.”
This film is wonderfully paced, as the creators take their time immersing their audience into this historically rich family. This results in audience members slowing becoming more and more emotionally involved in the story until the ending, where suddenly they find themselves tearing up or crying over these fictional, animated family members.
Music played a prominent role in this film, and fortunately there was not a single song that felt like it did not have a purpose. Every song was beautiful, and even the moments where Miguel just strummed the guitar once can be spine-tingling.
Although many viewers of the movie’s trailer might associate this film with Halloween, “Coco” was appropriately released on Thanksgiving, as this story is ultimately about family. “Coco” accurately covers the entire spectrum of emotions that we feel about our families, from being frustrated and misunderstood to feeling loved and accepted. Like every Pixar movie, “Coco” is a perfect film for families to sit down and watch together. Children will enjoy the slapstick comedy and the eye catching, colorful visuals, and younger adults and parents will enjoy the emotional and inspiring story about family and passion.
This movie takes the audience on a thrilling and emotionally involved adventure, as well as exposes them to a cultural aspect they may not be familiar with. Pixar’s decision to set this story in Mexico in a time of tension between the U.S. and Mexico reveals the company’s objective to help cultures understand one another and unite the world through their universal story-telling.
Final Grade: A