Coco (2017)

coco poster 2017 movie walt disney pixar
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

A different voice

Predictable story

Movie Info

Movie Name:   Coco

Studio:  October 20, 2017 (Morelia Film Festival)/November 22, 2017 (US)

Genre(s):   Animated/Musical/Family

Release Date(s):  October 20, 2017 (Morelia Film Festival)/November 22, 2017 (US)

MPAA Rating:  PG

coco hector miguel perform

I wonder if there could be any connection between us…that would be really weird.

Miguel Rivera dreams of being a great musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz.  Unfortunately, Miguel’s family has banned music in their lives since Miguel’s great-great grandfather abandoned the family for a life of music.  When Miguel learns that his great-great grandfather is Ernesto, he sets off to prove himself to his family regardless if they believe in his dreams.  Miguel finds himself sucked into the Land of the Dead where he sets out to get the blessing of Ernesto and restore his family with the help of a stray dog named Dante and a down-and-out spirit named Héctor.

Written and directed by Lee Unkrich (with additional scripting by Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, and Adrian Molina), Coco is a Pixar animated feature.  Following Cars 3 in 2017, the film was met with critical acclaim and won Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song (“Remember Me”).

Pixar is consistently solid, but it also is also just consistent.  You can predict a Pixar picture almost from the beginning at this point, and in that sense, Coco follows in the tradition.  Coco distinguishes itself by being a different type of voice in film and animation.

coco ernesto miguel bad guy

He’s the bad guy…no way?!?!? Didn’t see that coming…immediately

The story ties in highly to Mexican culture and the celebration of Day of the Dead.  The idea of a second death (when everyone on Earth forgets you) is a great (and depressing) concept which has you thinking about your own family and the past…which is the purpose.  The problem with the film is that the story is shoved into a typical Pixar story.  It feels like there could have been so many more directions that this story could have gone and been completely unpredictable and unique.  I have to concede that it is a kids’ film in the bottom line so the obvious “twists” aren’t really meant for adult viewers…but they could have tried harder.

Anthony Gonzalez is good as the voice of the young Miguel and the film does a nice job casting strong voice actors to support him.  Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt plat the lead ghosts Hector and Ernesto while other actors like Edward James Olmos, Cheech Marin, Alfonso Arau, and Gabriel Iglesias are some of the actors tapped.  The movie also features Pixar regular John Ratzenberger as of the Land of the Dead skeletons.

coco remember me ending miguel

Remember me? No seriously…remember me?

Like most Pixar films, the animation is strong.  It is rather consistent with Pixar animation.  This is a plus and minus.  I sometimes wish that Pixar would take more risks.  I see more incorporation of Mexican artwork and art styles…which would have helped.

Coco is a nice movie that everyone can enjoy.  The movie has a unique relationship with death and it could be a nice way to introduce younger children to the concept of death (though it could leave them scratching their heads with the whole Land of Dead).  Some of the ideas in the film were covered in The Book of Life in 2014, but the movie is a pretty family friendly.  Coco overall is solid, but I still wish Pixar (with its success) would experiment more and use their popularity to expand the art and style with their influence…but enjoy Coco for what it is.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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