Music, Magic, and Imagination: Our Review of ‘Coco’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - November 22, 2017
Music, Magic, and Imagination: Our Review of ‘Coco’

Embracing both the cultural and the magical, exploring beautiful colours and sounds, and while navigating an increasingly tense geopolitical era, Disney’s Coco is the loveliest of animated family films.

Telling a story south of the border, which was in fact decided to be told many years before the last U.S. Presidential election, Coco follows an exuberant and determined young boy on an introspective journey exploring music and family.

Miguel, with his love singing and playing the guitar, was unfortunately born into a family who has shunned music. And not for nothing, either – back when, a young woman named Victoria fell in love with a charming musician, they then had a child together, and then he left. He apparently loved music more than his wife and daughter.

That young child is Coco, who is now Miguel’s great grandmother, and while she doesn’t speak much, she is part of Miguel’s trek that finds him traversing the Land of the Dead. While this Pixar film is up to the usual high standards when it comes to animation, it’s in the deathly dimension where colours and magic abound, allowing the screen to fill with beautiful oranges and greens.

It’s also in this mystical realm where Miguel meets Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a hard-luck gent who has little when it comes to family but plenty of big dreams. They team up in their search for a legendary musician, who Miguel believes is his long lost ancestor. This lively, indeed, trek finds them coming across some curious relative, the painter Frida Pinto, his goofy dog Dante, and one large spiritual behemoth – everyone has a animalistic guide in the afterlife.

Coco follows the beats of most of the Pixar films, swelling in a grand finale filled with revelations and love and sacrifice and hope. It’s a majestic and charming tale, and certainly one that should be told. It would seem to me, albeit a white man, that the film is culturally sensitive if not exceedingly culturally aware, and it’s exploration of customs and beliefs is less a history lesson and an enjoyable lark. An explosion of colour and joy, Coco is yet another impressive entry in Pixar’s growing catalog.

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Anthony is a lover of a good story in any form, on any subject. Tirelessly navigating filmdom, he is equal parts an unbridled idealist and stubborn curmudgeon, trying to strike a balance between head and heart when it comes to pop culture. He pens stories about television, music, the environment, lifestyles, and all things noteworthy and peculiar.