Pixar Does What Pixar Does Best with Coco
To be honest, I’m not even sure how important it is for people to even read reviews of Coco. Pixar’s track record speaks for itself and has established itself as being one of the most reliable movie studios in the industry. I’m not saying they’re perfect (Cars 2), but it’s pretty much safe to say they have the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars pretty much locked down every year. That being said, Coco is more of the same from the studio. In other words, it is a spectacular movie.
Pixar has a habit of choosing settings and building stories around them. Finding Nemo was a film that was built around being under water. Inside Out was built on the inside of a person’s mind. Coco is based off the Mexican underworld, more specifically the traditional holiday of Dia de Los Muertos. This is something that I consider to be incredibly important, not just because it allows for beautiful imagery, but because it shines a light on Mexican culture which is desperately needed given the current political climate. Personally, I like to think of Coco as Pixar giving a beautiful and visually spectacular finger to the current administration and their “wall.”
As with many Pixar films, Coco has a lot of family-oriented thematic elements. It’s the story of a family who believes that music placed a curse on them generations ago and has shunned it ever since. The youngest member of the family, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) though is an aspiring musician who has to hide his dream. When it’s discovered though, he runs away from his family and ends up in the underworld reunited with his ancestors where he learns the true story of the family “curse.”
What makes this such a unique film though is that it’s not just a movie about how important family is. That’s definitely a powerful element, but it’s more about following your dreams and that family should always support each other in those dreams. More than that though, it has a message that your dreams aren’t just going to come to you, you have to go out there and seize them. A message that I think is important for children to hear when so often they are given the impression that making dreams come true is something easily obtained in America.
Visually speaking, I think this is the best I’ve seen from Pixar yet. The film is bright and vibrant, with colors that border on psychedelic at times. There are so many incredible details throughout it, that I’m going to have to watch it again just to try to take them all in. While they might border on overwhelming at times, I promise that is a complement of the highest order. AS far as the age-old question, “to 3D or not to 3D,” I’m going to say that this is one that deserves the extra few dollars for the glasses.
As I mentioned earlier, Coco is a beautiful homage to Mexican culture. The film takes care to dive into the traditions behind the day of the dead, and the idea that those we love always live on as long as they are remembered. This is why the ancestral altars and honoring those that have passed is so important. It also gets a chance to have some fun with alebrijes, Mexican spirit animals, and gives nods to famous Mexicans such as Frida Kahlo. Not only that, but the cast is comprised of Latinos and Latinas, many of whom are known for their work in Spanish language films outside of America (such as Gael García Bernal, Jaime Camil, Renée Victor, and Benjamin Bratt). Honestly, I learned a lot about different aspects of Mexican culture from Coco, and it was done is such a beautiful, natural way that never forces it on the audience.
To say that I suggest you see Coco is an understatement. It’s a film that I believe needs to be seen by as many people as possible. Not just because it is just an incredible movie, but because now is a time for us to show our support for Mexico and those of Mexican descent. It just so happens that Coco makes it incredibly easy to do exactly that. It is a wonderful, visually astounding, and heartwarming movie. A perfect family film for the holidays and one that everyone will enjoy.