Directed By: Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alannah Ubach, Renee Victor, et.al.
Disney/Pixar once again delivers a beautiful, emotionally satisfying story with Coco, the story of a boy named Miguel who is determined to have a career as a musician, despite his family’s generations-long ban on it, which unwittingly leads him to pursue his roots in the Land of the Dead in order to gain approval from his ancestors and lift his family’s music-based curse.
At a time when, unbelievably, non-Caucasian heritage is still too often glossed over and whitewashed, it was a pleasant surprise to see a movie that took so much care and effort to bring an important Mexican holiday tradition to the world. The story is touching, and resonates with everyone. The voice work is superb, and not an emotion is missed. While not a true musical, there are plenty of music sequences, and the songs are beautiful and catchy.
Anthony Gonzalez is Miguel, a boy from a small Mexican town who’s sole desire is to grow up and become a great musician, like the town’s legend, Ernesto de la Cruz, voiced by Benjamin Bratt. Unfortunately, his family has banned all music from their lives after Miguel’s great, great grandfather abandon the family to pursue a music career and never returned. Believing he can change his family’s mind by winning a local singing contest, he breaks into the late de la Cruz’s crypt and attempts to take the famed actors legendary guitar to use when he performs. Unfortunately, this leads Miguel to be taken to the Land of the Dead, where he runs across Bernal’s Hector, a soul who’s light is quickly fading, and makes a deal to with him to find de la Cruz, whom Miguel believes is his long-lost great, great grandfather, and get his blessing to pursue music in exchange for placing a picture of Hector on an altar so he may be remembered and keep from fading away. Along the way, Miguel finds his other deceased relatives, who try to send him back on the promise that he won’t pursue music, which Miguel rejects in favor of finding his hero. At some point, Miguel learns the truth about both who his true ancestor is, and what his hero did to achieve the status he’s remembered for.
The animation is beautiful. The colors are rich and vivid, and when they’re faded out, the darks have a depth to them, all of which is a hallmark of Pixar’s animation studio.
I highly recommend seeing this movie. As stated before, the story resonates with everyone, and people rarely scoff at others for wanting to see Disney/Pixar movies since they tend to be so enjoyable.
Coco isn’t available to stream anywhere, but it can be rented from Redbox or Netflix home delivery service.