I feel as though Disney and Pixar’s latest animated adventure was inspired by the idea of border security. Essentially Coco is about an individual who crosses over a border he shouldn’t and it is set in, and inspired by, the country south of the American border after all.
The protagonist is a youth named Miguel Rivera. His family has decided that Miguel will continue their long line of shoemakers but Miguel is a rebel in his own family. His heart beats for his love of music; singing, playing guitar, performing, aspiring to be like his hero Ernesto Del La Cruz, the greatest musician in the history of Mexico. Miguel’s family has outlawed involvement of music of any kind but he won’t deter and his family put their proverbial shoemaking feet down on the idea of Miguel pursuing his love of music.
On Dia de los Muertos, the Mexican Day of the Dead, Miguel breaks into Del La Cruz’s tomb to “borrow” his hero’s guitar to perform in a talent competition and the moment he strums those strings, Miguel is spirited away to the Land of the Dead where he meets his ancestors who are insistent that he return home but not Miguel sees his opportunity to meet his long deceased hero and simultaneous uncover his family secret as to why the Rivera’s have forbidden music from entering their lives.
Coco is an ode to Mexican culture, an ode to the magic of music and the power of a family’s love and it is vivid in the terms of both the authentic and aesthetic. I had to look back on the reviews I wrote this year and compared to the other animated film I’ve seen this year, I can confidently express that Coco is going to run away with every single animated achievement film award it will be nominated for in the foreseeable future!
Directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, who co-wrote the screenplay Matthew Aldrich, have crafted a beautiful tale about what it means to follow your passion and seizing your moment. Only the magic created between Disney and Pixar could construct a tale about spirit guides, mariachis, flower petals, walking skeletons, guitars, shoemakers and weave it into a beautifully constructed and executed animated experience that will resonate with audiences of all ages!
The animation team behind this movie put in tireless work to breathe life into this animated work of art and the team of Unkrich, Molina, Aldrich and Jason Katz, pulled out all the stops to immerse this movie in the splendor of the music, artistry, passion and culture of Mexico.
Bravo to the voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renee Victor, Alana Ubach, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Selene Luna, Herbert Siguenza, Jamie Camil, Alfonso Arau, Sofía Espinosa, Dyana Ortelli, Gabriel Iglesias, Edward James Olmos and Luis Valdez.
Aside from the animation and how well the story is written, the visual effects of the film were profound, the score of Michael Giacchino was sublime and dripping with Mexican influence, the cinematography team of Matt Aspbury and Danielle Feinberg did a fantastic job, Steve Bloom and Lee Unkrich’s editing was very smooth, Harley Jessup’s production design and Tim Evett’s art direction were fantastic. Coco is 2017’s pinnacle of animated achievement!
Disney and Pixar should be nothing but proud of Coco. It is undoubtedly another highlight in the long list of achievements they have made over the last few decades!