There’s just something about Pixar movies and the detail and research that they put into them that always results in you crying through at least a good portion of the movie. Their latest release, Coco (in theaters everywhere today) continues that model but in a much different way. Yes, much like their past hits, which is virtually every one of their releases, Coco is animated in stunning 3D animation but the story and even the graphics have been taken to the next level.
Coco tells the story of Miguel, a young boy who has a passion for music in a family that has banned music completely. Despite what his heart tells him, his family is pushing him to go into the family business and is banning him from playing music at all. On Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, he makes a discovery about his ancestral past that leads him on a path of self discovery and helps uncover a some family history that had been buried for decades.
Going into the theater my fear was that Coco would be too similar to the 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Release The Book of Life, another animated movie about The Day of the Dead. Dia de los Muertos and being animated is about where the two movies similarities end. The Book of Life is more cartoonish and more of a basic story that explains what the Day of the Dead is, and makes mention of the land of the living, the land of the remembered and the land of the forgotten. While we love The Book of Life, Coco delves deeper in the Dia de los Muertos practices, the family connection and the reasons behind the holiday.
Where Coco excels – Not only does it cover the day of the dead, but it uses actual cultural references. With family member images placed on ofrendas with food and candles, Aztec marigolds and practices depicted. The characters are both in the land of the living and the afterlife and we even see Nagual depicted through the movie in different forms. But through all of the movie, the main theme is family and your connection to it. It brings to light the sacrifices that are made for family and what lengths you go for them. The real connection between the characters are highlighted through family relationship and the real reason that Dia de los Muertos is celebrated.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, Pixar is a master at making you cry. But it is absolutely worth it. Not only does Coco make you look at the tradition of Dia de los Muertos deeper, but also your own family connections. As an added note, Pixar has a note at the end of their credits to visit your local library for more information on the practices and traditions of Dia de los Muertos which I absolutely loved. Not only does it encourage further self education on the holiday and traditions, but also encourages using our libraries that need the traffic and love!
Coco is now in theaters everywhere, trust me – see it in theaters with its vibrant music and colors. Take a few tissues with you and fall in love.
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
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