Coco: Battle of the Reviews Part 2
Sometimes a movie comes out and it seems to speak directly to you. It might be because you relate to the characters or it has a message that you need to hear. Watching Coco, Pixar’s first story revolving around Mexican culture, I felt like I was watching something that was made specifically for me. Much like most of Pixar’s other works, Coco is the kind of animated film that can be thoroughly enjoyed by adults just as much as kids. It is a wonderfully made story that uses Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) to celebrate Mexican culture.
Coco centers around Miguel and his family, all of whom are shoemakers. Although Miguel is being raised to follow in the footsteps of all his other family members, he has a different dream. His dream is to become a musician just like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. The only problem is that music has been banned from Miguel’s family for generations, so following his dreams would mean to go against everything his family believes in. While trying to prove himself during the big Dia de Muertos celebration, Miguel finds himself transported to the Land of the Dead where his journey to discover who he really is begins.
On its surface, Coco seems like a familiar story. The idea of someone following their dreams against their family’s wishes is one we have seen a hundred times before. This ends up being just a vehicle to navigate through the real point of the story. At its core, Coco is a film about the importance of family, both living and deceased. Miguel’s journey forces him to really discover himself by learning about those who came before him. Using the Dia de Muertos celebration ends up being a really important piece of the story rather than just an opportunity to make this a fun-looking film.
One of my concerns going into this film was how they would treat Mexican culture because it’s very easy to go way over-the-top with it and have it come across as disrespectful. However, those concerns disappeared almost immediately. One of the many things I loved about this film was how accurate it was to Mexican culture. There wasn’t anything that seemed like it was out of place. It incorporates the Spanish language and music beautifully in a way that doesn’t confuse its non-Spanish speaking audience. Even the mannerisms and behaviors of the people in the film felt all too familiar. The way in which every aspect of the culture was paid close attention to and treated with respect was truly great to see.
Visually speaking, Coco is a stunning film that uses every element of the Mexican culture to its advantage. Everything from decorations to authentic Mexican food is used to make sure that every frame has something different to look at. The film is filled with gorgeous scenic shots of places, such as a candle-lit cemetery or a bridge flooded by golden leaves. As a whole, Coco is a very colorful and eye-pleasing film that often makes you forget the visuals are actually animated.
More than anything, Coco has an incredible amount of heart. It can be very funny and heart-warming at times, but also knows when to be serious. There are some powerful, moving moments in this film that are perfectly built up to instead of being forced into the film with the simple purpose of getting a reaction from the audience. There is real beauty found throughout Coco, including the meaning behind the film’s title.
To this day, only three animated films have ever been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards and I firmly believe Coco will be the fourth animated film to accomplish this. Coco is quite simply the perfect combination of striking visuals, great use of sounds/ voices/ music, and it is a wonderful story that will resonate with many people. It manages to tell a touching story while perfectly capturing the essence of Mexican culture. Coco is a beautiful love-letter to Mexico that will warm your heart and help you remember the things that really matter in your life.
|Release Date:||November 22nd, 2017|
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