We are big Pixar fans and have been intrigued by months of teasers for the movie Coco. It seemed like a movie that would have great music, a creative story line and inspirational culture. We were invited to attend a screening Thanksgiving week to go check it out and find out more about who/what is Coco?
Official film synopsis:
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history. Directed by Lee Unkrich (“Toy Story 3”), co-directed by Adrian Molina (story artist “Monsters University”) and produced by Darla K. Anderson (“Toy Story 3”), Disney•Pixar’s “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Coco opened with so much culture and beauty right away. The characters, scenery, colorful decorations and learning about Dia de Metros (The Day of the Dead) was really cool. The main character Miguel is adorable and introduced along with his passionate family and his kooky sidekick Dante the dog. Coco is a classic story of the character wanting to be different than his family who then ends up on an adventure to learn an important lesson.
While according to tradition spirits are supposed to cross over into the living world, this story hinges on Miguel accidentally crossing over to the Land of the Dead instead. I must say the animation of the "dead" skeleton characters and mystical flower petals was amazing and the land of the dead is full of beautiful colors and fantasy.
While the film was beautiful, I found the story didn't quite end up in my "favorite movies of all time" category. It was touching and heavy on "family is important" messaging but somehow I still wasn't moved emotionally as I have been with other films. I think it was a bit confusing the movie was called Coco, the name of Miguel's great grandmother. It ties the story together but usually the movie is named after a main character. I think what I felt most let down about was the music. The main title track was "Remember Me" and I found it quite forgettable, I think i was hoping for more of a killer soundtrack similar to Moana. Overall this is a cute little movie I enjoyed, and I loved getting more insight into some other culture and traditions but overall it isn't one that I see being a classic in my home that we would watch again and again.
Also a side note: there was supposed to be a short film Olaf's Frozen Adventure prior to the film, but it was not shown at our screening. A little bummed as we tend to enjoy those little shorts!
To summarize, Coco is an enjoyable movie, but for me personally is fairly forgettable once you depart the theater. I can’t really say what was missing from this film as it was very well done and as usual, Pixar knocks the visuals out of the park. While I didn’t love Coco, I wouldn’t tell anyone to not see it, it just wasn't a favorite flick that I would watch again.
As for the story, it was fairly predictable. Once the main character Miguel crosses over and meets a certain character, it becomes fairly obvious how the story is going to play out. It’s not to say it’s not a good story, it is just easy to predict how it will play out.
I think I also expected more music throughout the movie. The music was just ok which was disappointing considering this story line seemed to be based around music. There are only so many versions of the same song one can hear before it gets incredibly old. The kid's voice is cute but there were no memorable songs that I would find myself humming days later.
Having said all that, Pixar delivers on the visuals as they are amazing. There are a few scenes with flower pedals blowing around that are stunning. The city of the dead panoramas are also gorgeous.
The story is well done and while I can’t say with any certainty that it stays true to Mexican culture, I have heard and read from many that it does in fact do a good job of being what would be considered authentic. It was interesting to learn more about Dia de Muertos and awesome to see Disney keep exploring more cultures and history.
This movie is best for: if you need something to do with a big family group over the Thanksgiving holiday
View the official movie site HERE.