On Wednesday November 22nd, 2017, Disney Pixar released its 19th film in theaters called COCO. COCO was directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina and features the voice acting talents of Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel), Gael García Bernal (Hector), & Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto De La Cruz). COCO takes place in Mexico and follows the story of a young boy named Miguel Rivera as he deals with the restraints put on him by his family’s ancestral history on Dia De Los Muertos or Day of the Dead. He dreams of being a musician but struggles to accept that in his family, music is banned due to an incident that took place generations before he was born. After an altercation with his family over core values, Miguel finds himself lost and trapped in the land of the dead and must find a way back to the world of the living before time runs out and the holiday is over.
This movie is most definitely one of Pixar’s best films to date, if not their very best film. In this movie, Pixar takes you on a journey through the land of the dead and brings to life creative representations of how the Day of the Dead might work like never before seen. From beautifully stunning visuals throughout the entirety of the movie that leave the audience captivated and in awe, to well paced story, comedy, and character development the movie hits all of its marks. The characters are given such depth and backed by amazing voice acting that the audience is truly inspired to believe that these characters exist with the actor’s performances.
Another note worth mentioning is that this movie is surrounded by excitement over the music featured in the movie. Composer Michael Giacchino has outdone himself once again. Every song captures the beauty of traditional Mexican folk songs and serves its purpose of further engulfing the audience with the spirit of Mexican music from the passionate guitar to the confident trumpets to the absolutely astoundingly powerful vocals sung by the voice actors themselves.
This is a very important element as it adds to the cultural significance this movie represents. This is one of the first big animated movies to feature a dominantly hispanic main character and main cast that accurately represents the Mexican culture with respect to the traditions and culture of their people. Dia De Los Muertos is not just used as a colorful holiday to serve as the backdrop to a story that has no relation to the Mexican people or human nature in general. Instead, Dia De Los Muertos is the central focus of a story written to teach children and adults of all ages about topics such as life, death, the legacy one leaves behind, family values versus sacrifices made for success, all told in a way that serves to connect and relate to people of all ages regardless of cultural background.
Overall, COCO is a movie that takes elements from previous Pixar and Disney films and builds upon them while incorporating them in creative original ways never seen before. The movie kept audiences of all ages engaged throughout the entire movie with its breathtaking animation and powerful emotional maturity. If you’re a fan of movies like Inside Out, Meet the Robinsons, and even Ratatouille then you must definitely check this movie out as it combines elements from each and takes them to new heights. Pixar has truly outdone themselves once again and you do not want to miss seeing this movie while it is still in theaters.
Written By, Kiyan Badkoubeh
Hosts: Sol Carlos & Kiyan Badkoubeh
Directed & Edited by: Kiyan Badkoubeh