Sunday, 10 December 2017

Review: 'Coco' is a Moving Journey into Mexican Culture

The winning team behind Toy Story 3 is back with Coco, more than 7 years after their previous film: Lee Unkrich (director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer) team up again, this time to bring us a story inspired by Mexican culture; one about Día de los Muertos.
Read our spoiler-free review below.

Coco follows Miguel, a 12-year old Mexican boy who loves music. He wants to be just like Ernesto de la Cruz, the greatest musician of all-time and walk in his footsteps.
Unfortunately, because of something that happened in this family, he isn't allowed to listen to music let alone play it. His journey to follow his passion will eventually lead him to the land of the dead.

In that way, Coco is not that different from another Pixar film (Ratatouille) where the main character also was passionate about something but had to figuratively fighting his family to do what he loved. The way Miguel adulates Ernesto de la Cruz even ressembles Remy’s idolization of Auguste Gusteau. But you still care about the characters, as they are fully formed and engaging.
The originality from Coco, and where it finds its beauty from a storytelling perspective, is in the theme of remembrance. Remembrance is a key part of the Dià de los Muertos tradition, and the writers took great advantage of this. It leads to some of the most moving scenes in Pixar Studio's history.

Tonally speaking, the film is first and foremost about the emotional journey of its characters. There is some situational and dark humor, and even a bit of slapstick with Dante, the Xolo dog; it is funny when it tries to be, but when it needs to be serious, it is. In a way, it's quite refreshing to see a film who doesn't always try to be hilarious.
The pace might be a bit problematic in the second act, but the plot packs enough twists and surprises to keep you entertained.

The land of the dead looks phenomenal, with vibrant colours and crazy architecture, as does the whole movie really. Coco is animated beautifully, and even sounds great: there are effective songs that blend nicely with the story and (another) nice Michael Giacchino score.

In conclusion, Coco is a vibrant tribute to Mexican folklore; a poignant, beautiful-looking and sounding journey into the  Día de los Muertos tradition with a pure and moving message about remembrance. All in all, it's another great one in the Pixar filmography, and definitely worth to remember.

Rating: 9,5/10

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