Pixar have a habit of constantly releasing critically acclaimed hits, and their latest venture, could prove to be their greatest triumph yet. It’s taken Coco a few months to arrive on these shores, but the wait has been worth it.
The Day of the Dead, is our main focus here, the Mexican holiday in which people come together to celebrate the lives of the members of their family who have passed away. Miguel, our young protagonist, yearns to be a musician, but due to a complicated family history, the art of music, in any form, has been prohibited in the family. But in his attempts to emulate his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz,, the greatest musician of his time, Miguel finds himself trapped in the Land of the Dead, seeking his hero for a way out.
Considering the theme of film is pretty morbid, the movie itself is surprisingly vivid! It is probably one of the most resplendent settings in any Pixar movie, with the festival ambiance providing a fantastic backdrop to the story. The visuals are stunning, and has some of the best animation the studio have produced.
Pixar movies are always an emotional ride, and Coco delivers. The recurring themes of death, grief and family are mentioned throughout the film. So it’s not too much of a surprise that there is a certain level of poignancy to the plot. But the final third of Coco is so well done, it should move most people to some degree! Without spoiling, it packs a punch!
The cast are thoroughly enjoyable. Hector, a charming, witty trickster who accompanies Miguel on his journey is a wonderful character, he’s just not there for comic relief though, his story arc plays out to perfection. Ernesto, our pompous superstar, is just about the right level of irritation & arrogance! Considering there are two sets of families, one alive, one passed away, there is an abundance of names and faces, not all of whom are important to the plot. But it plays a vital role in pushing through its message about family.
With it being a Disney production, the musical score will always be a crucial factor. With Coco, the soundtrack delivers a wonderful blend of music, will the effervescent flamenco/latino party rhymes, to the sombre melodies. ‘Remember Me’, the recurring track that plays throughout, not only carries a great level of poignancy, it also plays a vital role within the film.
Regarding negatives, there really isn’t much to say against it, but if you were to knit pick, the opening 1/3 is rather slow to kick on. It’s really not too clear where the movie is going with things, but the remainder of Coco is so good, you’ll let that go. Also, there really isn’t a villain in the film, it doesn’t really hurt the enjoyment, but if you like a movie with a clear antagonist, this may bug you a bit.
That being said, these are very minor flaws in what is already one of the candidate for film of the year! A sure winner for the Oscar for best animation!