Coco (2017) – Film Review
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that probably isn’t too familiar to non-hispanic cultures but Pixar have hit upon another excellent story that remains fresh despite a necessarily exposition-heavy beginning.
What draws us into the story is the richness of the characters and the cleverly created family setting woven into the story of Miguel – a youngster who dreams of becoming a musician in a family that hates music but who is then trapped in the Land of the Dead during the aforementioned annual festival.
He must try to find his way back to the living while also chasing his dream to meet his legendary musical hero in the Land of the Dead.
It sounds like a similar plot but the best Pixar films bring freshness and emotional reality to films are otherwise in danger of sounding routine and fortunately that comes effortlessly for Coco.
Miguel is a single-minded boy who risks everything to meet his idol during his adventure in the Land of the Dead after having to make a painful choice between his family and his music. He is accompanied on his quest by a street dog he befriends in his home town (more animal comic relief but with a welcome plot line of his own) and a roguish stranger who is himself trying to reach the Land of the Living for his own reasons.
There are numerous challenges that the plucky lad must overcome but there’s also strong lessons to be learned on the way to the resolution of his adventure.
Coco is an excellent look at a different culture from within an enthralling film adventure
The cast is filled with talented hispanic actors, giving Coco that extra layer of authenticity and there’s so much originality and colour during Miguel’s journey through the Land of the Dead it lets you overlook an almost textbook third act apart from a genuinely surprising twist.
Coco does retain a hugely emotional and tear-filled payoff that should easily expel any bad memories of more recent Pixar films which have seemed more like they are treading water than making future classics.
Coco (PG; mild threat, violence; 105 minutes)
Director(s): Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Cast Includes: Anthony Gonzalez (voice), Gael García Bernal (voice), Benjamin Bratt (voice), Alanna Ubach (voice), Renée Victor (voice), Jaime Camil (voice)
Summary: COCO is a US children’s animation in which a boy searches for his musical hero in the Land of the Dead
Rating: ***** (Coco is a return to form for Pixar – a fantastic family adventure)