Pixar’s Coco Review
Pixar has made some great classics for family must-watch-lists, like the iconic Toy Story, the heart-warming Up, and the future cautious Wall-E. Even though Pixar’s storytelling and jaw-dropping computer animation are always progressing and striving to be better than it’s most recent films, there were a couple flops that either didn’t resonate with viewers or didn’t make any profit from. Examples of these are; The Good Dinosaur, Cars 2, and Planes.
I do apologize for bringing up those three movies. I bet it left a bad taste in your mouth just reminiscing about those films. Let’s shake those bad memories away and replace them with good ones. Are they forgotten? Good.
The reason why I brought up the dark chapters of Pixar film, is because unlike any other companies, Pixar does learn from their mistakes and always strive to do better with each incoming movie. (Although they didn’t learn from Planes and made a sequel, that is beside the point.) With Pixar’s Coco, it is no different. With a string of sequels taking over the majority of the Pixar films in the past 5 years or more, this movie is sure to stand out and become an instant favorite.
Movie Disclaimer: This review is a spoiler free as much as I can. I refer to parts of the movie that were only shown in trailers, and won’t give any key storyline plots away, so you can decide if you want to watch it or not.
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, and Renee Victor
Theater Release Date: November 22, 2017
19th Pixar film
Synopsis: A young boy, Miguel, grew up in a family that has a generational ban on all things music. In spite of the ban, Miguel dreams of following his heart to play music just like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz in secret. While trying to prove himself, Miguel accidentally finds himself in the Land of the Dead. While trying to find his way back he runs into some colorful and familiar characters in this wonderful film about family.
Despite what many people have said about the lack of advertising, there was and is actually a lot of promotional work for this film, just like all the other Pixar films. Since D23, Pixar has hyped up the promotional ticket on this film with sneak peaks and a grand finale number of the movie’s now a well-known theme, “Remember Me” sand by Benjamin Bratt and Miguel Rivera’s voice actor, Anthony Gonzalez. Not only that, Disney even had themed areas in their parks based on the movie in Adventureland in Disneyland, Magic Kingdom, and Disneyland Paris.
My favorite Coco inspired attraction was this clip taken from Disneyland Paris:
Video from DLP Welcome
There were so many surprises and shows at the parks, it made me incredibly jealous that I couldn’t be there.
Ah, there go the tears again…
Maybe there was such an outcry of not many promotional ads because they are mistakenly remembering how much Disney pushes their own movies. This is Pixar, and what I can remember from my childhood, the reason why I love Pixar is that they don’t like to give away the plot from their trailers. Pixar does a great job hiding the storyline by showing just enough about the movie without spoiling anything, which results in new footage that isn’t in the movies ( See the Coco preview with just Dante here ) or just clips from the beginning of the movie. It is all about the element of surprise with Pixar, and I love that they didn’t spoil this movie with an excessive amount of different trailers.
There is no hiding the fact that Coco centers around the importance of family, music, and death. All three have a connection with the Mexican holiday Días de los Muertos.
MouSeeker Explains: Dias de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday celebrated from October 31st to November 2nd, to celebrate the life of family members that have long since died. Altars, or ofrendas, are built for these families members and decorated with skulls (calavera), marigolds, gifts, and snacks and/or drinks favored by the deceased.
Without spoiling the overall plot, Coco centers around Miguel and his family. It also takes place on the first day of Dias de los Muertos, so celebrating family and being with family from the very beginning really sets the tone for the rest of the movie. The story arc steers away to music, by firstly discussing that Miguel’s family hates music and believe it to be a curse, despite what young Miguel thinks. Secretly Miguel idolizes The famous Ernesto de la Cruz, the late singer and an actor before his time. With the clash of these two powerhouse themes of the movie, leads to the conflict of the movie of Miguel getting trapped in the Land of the Dead. Ironically its music and family that will help him back to the living world.
Mexican culture is the main presence of this film, despite the movie taking place primarily in the Land of the Dead it also takes notice of the cultural holiday in the living world. For those that are unfamiliar with Dias de los Muertos, without going on a huge side-tracked spiel explaining what the holiday is about, they discuss it through a normal conversation without feeling like you are in a classroom being taught in with rigid strain. It becomes fluid like you are part of the family. You shouldn’t( and you won’t) feel like you’re left out, Coco lets you in like a warm hug from a family member.
Pixar has always excelled in trying to top their own animation skills with every film. With Coco, it is virtually stunning from the main title screen to the right before the credits roll. I am a fan of animation, and once tried to pursue going into animation in one point of my life, so I’m always looking out all the technical points of the animation and pay close attention to how everything moves and reacts. Pixar Coco, is definitely a feast for your eyes, withdraw dropping scenes and characters. I loved just scanning my eyes across all the different environments of Miguel’s town, to the Rivera ofrendas and Miguel’s altar to de la Cruz. Everything was so exquisite detailed it was pure eye candy, that I was so distracted I missed a few lines. The characters are very well designed, with a hint of that cartoonish characteristics so it wouldn’t be too hyper-realistic. This is still a Pixar/Disney film, with a fantasy realm. The Land of the Dead was a feat that I adored the most about this whole film and caught myself trying to drink up every detail. Before the film started, most theaters show little snippets about behind the scenes of the films, and I was lucky enough to watch a part where they discussed how they made the Land of the Dead come to life digitally. Very fun addition for me, for this film, to see the technical side of the process.
Steering away from the design, which I can talk about for hours, I love the plot of the movie. It had heart and music that I will always keep with me. It was a beautiful story with that fun Pixar flair of the loveable characters and “side quests” that brings you into the movie more and empathize with the many characters.
Unfortunately, now this isn’t a bad thing per se, I saw the conclusion to the plot coming about ⅓ way into the film. Now please don’t steer this away from the film and think it’s predictable, let me explain why I saw what was happening. A while ago, I watched a youtuber discussed an upcoming Pixar film, and brought to my attention something I never noticed before. Pixar (and sometimes Disney) has a habit of following the same pattern with their films. EVer since then, my hyper-critical brain ( critical in the sense that I’m always trying to figure out what’s happening before it happens) has noticed these patterns and I’m always figuring out the ending before it happens. This doesn’t take away from the film at all, and I doubt the average Disney/Pixar fan will ever notice this, and certainly not children.
MouSeeker Fun Fact: The only Disney/Pixar film that surprised me with it’s ending was Frozen, with Hans.
I do not have any opinion about similarities between 2014’s The Book of Life since I have never watched that film. I will agree with the creator of The Book of Life, on his thoughts about Coco:
Reporters on both sides keep asking why I am rooting for COCO. If it doesn’t do well people like me will have a harder time making films or shows with minority lead characters or worlds. It’s my life long passion and mission to showcase where I’m from. So, please go see COCO!!!
— Jorge R. Gutierrez (@mexopolis) November 22, 2017
We should be happy that there are more films depicting and showcasing the diversity of cultures, and I would love to see more films like this. I personally love the subject matter, and the world it brought me in with this film, to the point I want to learn more.
Huge tissue warning here. I am not one to ever cry in films. Not that I am dead inside, its just I have a very rational mind, and I know that I’m watching a film and just tend to enjoy it for what it is. This movie, Coco, made me bawl so hard that it surprised me. Maybe because I was so emotionally involved with the characters or what happened at the end was way too similar from points in my life, I’m not really sure. And I’m not the only one either, I’ve heard from many that this is a real tear-jerker for them, as well.
This movie, I don’t doubt will resonate with anyone that watches it. Any Disney or Pixar fan will certainly fall in love with it, as it’s the perfect family movie for the holidays. Coco is beautifully animated and designed that you will find yourself so immersed in the land Pixar created.
Most importantly, Coco brings the family to the forefront and touches something in your soul. With the wonderful score, more than one of the movie’s songs will make you feel something deep inside and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. Anthony Gonzalez, Miguel, is the stand out on this film with his wonderful innocent and playful attitude interjected into his character. And boy this kid knows how to sing, it will surprise you the most with “Un Poco Loco” and then again with “The World Es Mi Familia”.
There is the use of Spanglish ( a back forth between Spanish and English, sometimes in the same sentence) in this movie, but it’s very minimal that you won’t feel like you need to look up translations later. Most of the words, you can figure out just by using the context of the word. There is a song or two in Spanish or Spanglish, but I said before just by using the context of the situation it doesn’t become hard to figure out what they are singing about, and just like any song it’s the rhythm that moves you and sets the tone.
A great movie all around, I highly recommend going out and watching Coco this holiday season with family or friends. And if you can’t get out to the theaters keep this movie out on your radar for when it drops on Blu-Ray and DVD, or wait a couple week after DVD release to watch it on Netflix.
I have high hopes for this movie and hope it’s recognized more as time goes on and becomes part of animation history as a must watch!
MouSeekers gives Pixar’s Coco:
5 out 5
Pros: The music, the relatable characters, The Land of the Dead, importance of family, Miguel, subject matter.
Cons: Will possibly make you ugly cry, follows Pixar pattern (not a bad thing, I just couldn’t find anything else).
These reviews are formed from my opinions and weren’t swayed by any outside help. This review is no way sponsored and was watched and bought on my time and dime.
I always want to hear what others think, so drop your reactions down in the comments below. Have you seen it or going to see it? If you saw it, did you cry? Did you love it?
Also, let me know what other movies you would like me to review. Do you want me to do a small review of Olaf’s Frozen Adventure?