Review for Coco (2017) Directed by Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina. Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt. IMDB says “Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to work out the mystery.”
Coco is delightful. As I sit here and try to think of all the words and phrases I could use to describe it, the only word that comes to mind is delightful. There is something about this film that grabs you and doesn’t let go. It could be the music, the animation, or the story itself; I can’t really decide. But whatever it is, it worked. I find myself weeks after seeing the film humming along to the songs of the film. Pixar has the makings of another hit on its hands.
Coco is a story on the importance of family as well as remembering your heritage. That story is told through Miguel (wonderfully voiced by Anthony Gonzalez). Miguel’s family has forbidden music within the home, and an act of defiance on Miguel’s part sends him into a land of adventure and intrigue. With the help of his ancestors, newfound friends, and an awkwardly hard to look at dog, Miguel must make his way back home from the Land of the Dead. Writers/Directors Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3, Finding Nemo) and Adrina Molina (The Good Dinosaur) delve into the vibrant world of Mexican culture and bring us a wonderful story set around Dias de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). It’s almost like a mini sociology lesson peppered into an animated film, but subtle enough to where you’re not too bogged down. Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, and Renee Victor, just to name a few, round out an outstanding voice cast in a film brimming with color and sound. The animation is incredible. Pixar continues to innovate and up their game and Coco is no exception. The film feels so real at times with textures and colors on full display, you could almost reach out and touch it. The musical numbers, though I personally could have used more, are great and guaranteed to keep you humming for weeks to come.
As great as the film is, it does have its missteps. The plot feels like we’re treading overdone territory, especially when the twists and turns feel like expected clichés. Granted, it feels fresh painted against the Dias de los Muertos backdrop, but it does leave a little something extra to be desired. I understand there are only so many stories you can tell, but with all the risks Pixar has taken in the past, you’d think they could push their creativity further and outdo themselves with their stories like they do with their animation. That being said, the film is still fun. The songs are catchy, the characters are lively; it’s everything you expect in a Pixar film and then some. If you’re looking for something to take the family to this holiday season, and you’re tired of superheroes, Coco is the way to go.
FTS SCORE: 77%
Coco is in theaters everywhere nationwide.