Coco proves to be a beautiful mix of a charming story, touching music and breathtaking animation.
It is a well-known fact that any Pixar film will provide state-of-the-art, highly detailed animation alongside a touching story, and Coco is no exception. Set in Mexico on their Day of the Dead, young Miguel’s family have had a ban on all music spanning across five generations. Miguel, however, has a passion for playing the guitar, and is determined to disobey his family to pursue his dream of becoming a successful musician. Upon finding out that his great-great-grandfather was the famous guitarist and his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel steals Ernesto’s prized guitar on display in the town, which transports him to the Land of the Dead. Once there, Miguel makes it his mission to seek out Ernesto and share his forbidden love of music with the one relative who would understand.
The story of Coco, though laced with a couple of plot twists and unexpected moments, is fairly predictable for the most part. Nevertheless, this does not detract from an otherwise charming tale, which pays heed to Mexican culture in a respectful and accurate manner. Miguel makes an entertaining lead, someone children can relate to but whose journey is equally interesting to watch for adult audiences. The other characters around him are just as entertaining, especially those who reside in the Land of the Dead, whose skeleton exteriors only go to emphasise their quirky personalities and fun natures. At the same time, it is incredible how these characters can touch hearts so powerfully; when those in the Land of the Living begin to forget their ancestors in the Land of the Dead, and do not display photographs of them on the Day of the Dead (this act allows their ancestors to cross into the Land of the Living to see their families once again), the dead begin to disappear in what they call The Final Death. Unsurprisingly, this heart-breaking concept leads to some tear-jerking moments.
The music of the film is also suitably touching. The musical motif which reappears in various different moments and contexts throughout, ‘Remember Me’, becomes more and more poignant as the plot progresses and the song picks up more and more meaning. Seeing as the music and lyrics were written by husband and wife duo, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, of Frozen fame, it comes as no surprise that ‘Remember Me’ is fittingly moving.
However, the most impressive aspect of Coco by far is the animation. As I’ve already mentioned, you would expect an incredibly high standard from Pixar regardless, but this film really is something special. The brilliant, vibrant colours which greet you as they exude from the screen are truly what sets Coco apart from its predecessors in Pixar history. Even if the story doesn’t interest you in the slightest, the stunning array of different shades of orange, red, purple and blue will have you staring in awe at the sheer amount of effort that must have gone into producing a film of such high calibre.
Coco (2018), directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, is distributed in the UK by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, certificate PG.