Coco is Pixar’s newest effort, following a young boy called Miguel and focusing on the Mexican culture and in particular the Day of the Dead. It’s been done before in animation, with Book of Life as recently as 2014 using the same mexican festival as a setting. I haven’t seen that flick, so I’m not affected by the comparisons some may have between the two.
Coco follows in the footsteps of recent disney films in having music as a major component, but this time that music is also a key part of the story, meaning the music doesn’t feel as random as in some animated films. No song in Coco is as memorable as “How Far Il Go” from Moana, and I don’t expect children to be singing Coco’s “Remember Me” as often as you would hear Frozen’s “Let It Go” in the months and years after that films release. Every song is more in line with the story though, and they fit in seamlessly.
Coco is very much a story driven film that shows off the Mexican family culture respectfully whilst taking us to the colourful and exciting world of..the dead. So often death is avoided on kids films, but the way Coco treats death and the afterlife is unique. Dressed up in colour, music and fanfare, a core part of the world is that if nobody remembers you in the living world, then you cease to exist in the land of the dead. Thats quite a drastic condition to have in a Pixar film. The way it’s subtlety woven into the story amidst this vibrant world serves the story very well, keeping things entertaining but still creating real drama in the third act.
It’s no surprise that once again Pixar showcases why it’s the No.1 animation studio in the world. The level of detail on the world is insane, and it’s only the cartoonish elements like the character design that give away that this isn’t a live action film. The day of the dead theme allows the animators to really express themselves and the characters and architecture in the land of the dead make it feel like somewhere you’d love to go.
The characters of Miguel & Hector are the real heart of the film, with the latter starting out seeming like a side character and over the film we discover more and more about his history and his motivations. Miguel is extremely likeable and you’re on his side from first minute to last.
That last minute, well the last 10 minutes, is Up (get it) there with the most emotional scenes Pixar has produced. As you may know if you’ve read my blog regularly, nothing in films makes me cry, except the movie Hitch, but I can imagine someone with a heart might shed a tear or two towards the end of Coco.
Coco delivers yet another hit for a studio which has, aside from the Cars Franchise and The Good Dinosaur, always put out consistently great movies, and Coco is no different.
Good: Excellent Animation, fun characters and a heartwarming story make this work for me.
Bad: There really isn’t a lot to complain about here. The story is a little predictable and none of the songs are as catchy as previous efforts, but that’s about all that’s negative about Coco.
9/10 – Pixar does it again!