Oh hey! I didn’t see you there. Come on in, I’ll tell you a little bit about a movie called Coco.
Coco is the newest film by Pixar/Disney (they’re pretty much synonymous at this point) centered around dia de los muertos. If you at all thought of the movie Book of Life, they do have a lot in common, but mostly in subject matter and themes. Coco’s story is about Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy obsessed with music, which his family has banned from their household. They banned music, not Miguel, in case I wrote that wrong. Upon figuring out his great great grandfather was a hugely successful musician, he sets out to prove that music isn’t a terrible thing like his family says it is, but finds himself trapped in the land of the dead after stealing his ancestor’s prized guitar.
I definitely enjoyed Coco. It does a lot of the things that Pixar is known for, like hitting you with some touching family stuff, and it does them well. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before though, story wise. I was able to work out the plot before it happened, but that doesn’t make it not effective in drawing out emotions. Ranking it among Pixar’s group of films, it sits pretty comfortably below the greats, but definitely above the bad.
Coco is written very well. It uses all the same story beats that most people have seen before, sure, but it’s so nice to see a movie that has a clear, concise story, especially after so many sub par and shit movies. The protagonist has a clear goal, flaws, and room to grow. The world is written with enough rules to make sense but not be complicated. But most of all, the emotion it evokes from you is real and earned, no matter how many times Pixar has done it in the past.
I was really impressed with the way the screenwriters handled the stakes of Coco. It’s established early on that Miguel can return to the land of the living at basically anytime, however in order to do so would mean that he would have to give up being a musician. He refuses to do this, obviously, because there wouldn’t be a movie otherwise. It’s also established that if he stays in the land of the dead that he would die at sunrise. It’s an interesting balance where he’s not necessarily in any danger, at least for most of the movie, but he is at the same time if he continues to stay on the same path. His travelling companion however, Héctor (Gael García Bernal), is the one most at risk, who despite being already dead, can die again. If you’re forgotten in life by those who knew you, then you die a final death. So what ends up happening is you feel more for Miguel’s emotional state than his well being. The same can be said for many of Pixar’s films. And in a year where so many damn action movies are about the world ending, and most kids films are too money hungry to care about their characters, I think that Coco is a saving grace.
The reason I took so long to talk just about that is because it’s important. And I mean the rest is just good stuff that I don’t have much to say on. The look of the movie is really cool, and the CGI is insanely impressive, but by now it’s par for the course for Pixar. The characters are all well played, interesting, and their singing is really good. It’s really cool that most if not all of the cast did the spanish version as well. So it’s all really cool stuff, but it’s all expected stuff from Pixar, so I don’t think I really need to say much else.
Oh I almost forgot, FUCK FROZEN. It was fine film, but holy shit I’m jealous that I don’t speak spanish, because the people who watch that version don’t have to sit through that annoying ass 22 MINUTE short beforehand.