What better way to start this deep dive into filmmaking than to take a closer look at Disney and Pixar’s latest film, Coco. Coco tells the story of Miguel, who dreams of becoming a musician despite his family’s ban on music. Through a series of events, Miguel finds himself in the colorful and ironically lively Land of the Dead, where he embarks on an adventure and discovers the truth behind his family’s past.
There are mild spoilers ahead, so please, if you haven’t seen this film and wish to stay spoiler-free, do not read ahead but do remember to bring tissues. Trust me, you don’t want your mascara dripping down your face like I did.
Also, I want to add that I am a huge Disney fan. I have always admired their ability to capture raw emotion through beautifully animation and creative characters. However, I am not biased. Trust me, there are Disney movies I could do without – but we leave that for another time. Disney has experienced such success within their animation division but with hit after hit after hit, I always get a little nervous. Nerves aside, I went into Coco with an open mind and of course, an open heart.
First things first, Coco is a visual marvel and with great attention to detail in every scene. Each element of the Land of the Dead is intricate and bursting with energy. The animation reflects the beauty of the story, which celebrates and faithfully depicts authentic Mexican culture while tugging at your heartstrings in only a way Disney and Pixar can. I will be blunt, Coco broke me. As someone who had a very strong bond with their grandmother and is very close to her family, I was not prepared for the emotional tsunami of tears streaming down my cheeks during the final scenes, specifically the final rendition of “Remember Me”, written by the award-winning dream team, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Coco is an emotional and dazzling film that demonstrates the importance of family and forgiveness but above all, Coco is a prime example of how Pixar will continue to push the boundaries of animated family films.
On another note, the now controversial Olaf’s Frozen Adventure short was actually quite adorable. Yes, it was extremely long and would have been more appropriate as an ABC special (which it will be on Thursday, December 14th at 8 PM EST). The short would have been far more successful and better perceived by audiences if the short just consisted of Olaf’s “The Time of Year” number and the finale, “When We’re Together”. Then it would have been a happy, merry, holly, jolly opening to a heartwarming and joyous film experience.
Final Thoughts: Fun, touching and extraordinarily animated, Coco is a beautiful homage to Latin culture and the power of family. A definite must see but remember to bring tissues, and be prepared to call your loved ones.