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Coco: Pixar have created an instant Disney classic
January 21, 2018
‘The Day of the Dead’ the one day of the year in the Mexican calendar that our ancestors are able to come back from the land of the dead to visit us. But what if we could go to visit them instead? As young Miguel will find out in one of Disney’s most visually spectacular and heartwarming adventures ever, Coco; a story about familial love, love of music and the pursuit of dreams.
In Santa Cecilia lives the Rivera family. A family like every other, devoted to keeping the memory alive of all their great ancestors. However, unlike every other Mexican family, the Rivera family despise music. This hatred derives from their famous family history, as the eldest Rivera, the great grandmother Coco, whose family was abandoned by her father, leaving them with nothing as he selfishly went off in pursuit of fame and fortune to become Mexico’s most prominent musician. Being the only family in Mexico to hate music naturally young Miguel, the youngest Rivera, dreams of nothing else but becoming a great musician, like his idol, the late great Ernesto De La Cruz. Miguel is torn between the love for his family and a strong desire for music; feeling desperate to show the world his talent.
As the festival of ‘The Day of The Dead’ begins, Miguel sees an opportunity and enters the festival’s talent show. He sneaks into Ernesto’s mausoleum and steals his guitar and to his surprise becomes invisible. Just as his dreams are about to come to fruition, he finds himself trapped and unable to be seen or heard, just like a ghost. Not long after, in this new realm he connects with his dead ancestors who are more than happy to help him find his way back. However, in order for Miguel to return to the land of the living, he must first travel to the ‘Land of the Dead’, where he must uncover the truth behind his family history, as well as discover the origins of his own love for music.
Coco presents a stellar on-screen depiction of the mythological’Land of the Dead’ which is very much in keeping with Pixar’s vivid style of digital animation. The film is truly a visual triumph with its beautiful dream-like settings that will have viewers in awe at the spectacular animatronics used. This is then backed by a fantastic plot which proves surprisingly original with its continuous twists and turns throughout as Miguel’s unveils the history of his great-great-grandfather’s, but also of his family as a whole. Refreshingly for a Disney animation, the family dynamics are presented in a realistic fashion, honestly depicting the best and the worst of family life.
Outstanding performances by Gael Garcia Bernal as Hector the Skeleton, Alanna Ubach as Mama Imelda as well as the exceptional Anthony Gonzales as the young Miguel. Coco explores the relatively unknown culture in the heart of Mexico, and its people, and does so with great beauty and wit. The film is comedic as it is heartwarming, with an ending that will tug at the heart strings; accompanied by an awarding-winning soundtrack, which includes the melancholic yet and gorgeous song “Remember Me”, written specifically for the film.
Pixar have done it again! They have created an animation masterpiece that will simply blow everyone away. At the core of the film, it is an in-depth analysis about family and the power of music. Music can connect us, make us succeed and make us remember. Coco might very well become an instant Disney Classic.
Coco is out now.
Words by Charlie Quirke @CharlieQuirke
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