Skip directly to content

Cinema Cindy Reviews: Coco

on November 26, 2017 - 7:46am
By Cynthia Biddlecomb
Los Alamos

“Coco” is Disney Pixar’s latest, very colorful, animated film, full of love for family and the inspiration of music. The 3D version will be well worth your wait so that you see the full visual intent of the film. Marketed to the “PG” crowd, older folks may enjoy Coco for the beauty of the film and the values it holds dear. Parents, though, will want to know that the “thematic elements” to scare a child are animated skeletons.

Twelve year old Miguel (perfectly voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) wants to sing and play guitar more than anything in the world. But his family has a mysterious, historical ban on music. Since Miguel’s great-great-grandmother Imelda was abandoned in the 1940s by her musician husband, all memory of him has been erased from the family. Even the photo that once showed him with Imelda and their daughter, Miguel’s living great-grandmother Coco, has had his head torn off.

On the Day of the Dead, Miguel desperately wants to find a guitar to use so he can compete in a contest in Mariachi Plaza. A goofy street dog follows him everywhere he goes; Miguel has named him Dante, and even he has a destiny to fulfill. The family is going to the cemetery and Miguel is expected to accompany them, but their rejection of his interest in music causes him to run away. How he ends up in the Land of the Dead is for you to find out. But while he is there he learns that ancestors disappear when we stop remembering them. Building an ofrenda covered with family portraits and candles and offerings of food is an annual way of keeping alive the memory of loved ones who have gone before us. (Stay to the end of the credits to see the ofrenda offered there… very touching.)

The film is, in my opinion, nearly flawless, and a good contender for the Oscar for best animated film of 2017. The animators’ attention to detail is noted in an unusual live action introduction before the film begins, starring three talking heads, who are likely the film’s producers. I think that bit helped me appreciate the artistic complexity of the scene in question when it came up. Also much appreciated throughout the film is its respectful portrayal of the traditions of Dia de Muertos and the people who keep them. Coco is like Moana in that way, culturally respectful.

Perhaps the film was held until this week, three weeks after Dia de Muertos, because Disney paired it with the opening short film, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”, which has a Christmas theme. That short film is a disappointing rehash of the characters in the movie Frozen seeking out various Christmas traditions; also disappointing is its length of 21 minutes—not such a short, short film.

But hang in there and wait for Coco. At one hour and 49 minutes in length, itself, it is a beautifully drawn, written, scored and voice-acted, animated film for the whole family and for anyone else who likes feel-good Pixar films. In our local theater, people actually clapped at the end! Hint: you may want to put a tissue in your pocket for the end of the film; it is that sweet.


Advertisements