Being the King of Movie Animation can be a blessing and a curse at the same time for Pixar Animation Studios. The studio has set the bar so high for family entertainment with films like UP, The Incredibles and the Toy Story franchise that when they have a film like The Good Dinosaur or the Cars sequels, fans become overly critical. This past summer Cars 3 didn’t exactly excite the masses like past entries from the studio so once again critics were stating Pixar needed to bounce back from this misstep.
Luckily the high standards for the groundbreaking studio are back up to a suitable level for fans and critics in their vibrant new film Coco. The movie focuses on a boy named Miguel (Voiced by Anthony Gonzales) who loves music. One big problem though. His family hates music and forbids him from ever picking up an instrument or singing a tune. This leads to a race across the afterlife in The Land of the Dead where Miguel must make peace with his deceased family so he can get back to the land of the living and the people he loves. Along the way he works with a skeleton named Hector (Voiced delightfully by Gael Garcia Bernal) who has is own agenda for Miguel when he gets back to the real world.
Now Coco has received many comparisons to The Book of Life, but quite frankly they are two different films. Sure the Land of the Dead, Day of the Dead and the music are instrumental in both movies, but Coco is more about a young boy discovering the skeletons his family has been hiding in their closets for generations. The story isn’t exactly anything original concerning the narrative and twists along the way, but the simple tale is executed well and is heartfelt. Just because something isn’t complicated, doesn’t mean it’s not special and Coco proves that.
The storyline of Coco may follow some familiar beats, but the visuals are an out of this world neon explosion that will leave you mesmerized by all the pretty colors. The film serves as a love letter to Mexico and The Day of the Dead Holiday introducing unfamiliar eyes to our neighbors to the south and their rich culture. Each animated Skeleton comes with their own distinct personality full of cracks, colors and designs. As always there are moments in Coco where the people and environments look so real that you can’t believe they were made on a computer. Add in some enjoyable music that enhances the final product instead of distracting from it and you have a film Pixar snobs should deem worthy of the company’s lofty expectations.
Overall, I give Coco 3 out of 4 stars.
Read all of T.M.’s reviews HERE!