Release Date: November 22, 2017
Director: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Writer: Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, Adrian Molina
Cast: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau, Herbert Siguenza, Gabriel Iglesias, Lombardo Boyar, Ana Ofelia Murgula, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Selene Luna, Edward James Olmos, Sofia Espinosa, Carla Medina, Dyana Ortelli, Luis Valdez, Blanca Araceli, Salvador Reyes, Cheech Marin, Octavio Solis, John Ratzenberger, Lalo Alcarez, Carolina Angel, Memo Aponte, Marcela Davison Aviles, Liliana Barba Meinecke
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 109 minutes
Production Company: Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Pictures, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Genre: Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Language: English, Spanish
The film studio Pixar first hit the scene in 1995 with their debut of Toy Story, which was nothing short of a game changer. Shortly after, every film that was released was pure cinematic gold, and there seemed to be nothing stopping the studio regarding producing memorable, high-quality entertainment. Though every studio can't hit a home run with each turnout, which was the case with a few of their properties year after year. Now, with this being their nineteenth film hitting theaters, it's safe to say the film studio has found their strong roots again with Coco. Coco is not only a great film but one of the best films released in 2017. It pays so much respect to the Mexican culture, and does so in a fun, loving, passionate way, that focuses on the importance of family, and harnessing on all your deep seeded emotions. There's so much to enjoy that's contained in the film, that if I were to express every positive aspect, this review would be longer than a printed phonebook. Though I can say without you reading any further, that this is a film you must see, that you must see as soon as possible.
The story centers around a young boy named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who loves his family dearly. He's an aspiring musician who wants to follow his dreams and perform for the world, but there's one large problem. His family despises all music (for valid reasons) and would cast him out if such ideas were to come to fruition. Though Miguel can't hold his passions back, and decides to pursue his dream anyway, visiting the land of the dead, embarking on a new journey that will define all his days to come. Not that I praise disobedient children, but already early in the film, you're in love with the lead character Miguel played. He's fearless, and will stop at no end to make his dreams come true. As a bonus, he's not the only character you'll become attached to. Nearly everyone he encounters has their moment to shine and has their part to contribute to the fantastical story.
The story itself is layered on multiple levels. You're tuned in from the opening credits with great narration to pull you in. All the bright colors that show the beautiful Mexican culture make it even easier to consume everything. It is multiple worlds that you could only imagine on both the living side and the land of the dead that's all beyond your wildest imaginations. Don't let the word "dead" steer you away because after watching this film, and seeing what the other side has to offer, I would be satisfied, dying tomorrow with no regret. That's said as a comic relief, but the film does a spectacular job explaining how death in the Mexican culture is not the end of one's soul’s journey. It's pieced together in a way that both children and adults will easily understand, even if this is your first step out of your own way of life. Many animated films are tailored to kids, but here in Coco, it's crafted for all, no matter what the age, and gives a new vision of life, I didn't know existed. What's also fascinating is once you think you've figured it all out, there's another layer of story that reveals itself, making your whole experience much deeper, and provides a few lessons and insight that you're sure to learn something from.
As stated before, there are some elements to pick apart from the film that you'll label your favorite. One fun game a group would be able to play after viewing is listing their favorite parts of the film and why. I have a ton to list myself, but the musical score and visual effects were two that stood out to me. Without question, the visuals took you to a place that only your dreams could. While in popular culture, death is something to be afraid of, but within Coco, it's something to embrace. This film used the color in the spectrum to full advantage bringing it all to life. On top of that, with all the instruments used to create a sound melody, these moments of joy became a true celebration. For the Mexican culture to be so enriched with passion, it's a shame these sparks of life is just now hitting the mainstream media. I feel lost as to not know why it took so long to come out. Maybe it's just me living in a box, but I'm glad this culture was now brought to life for everyone to see.
Coco is a perfect film that deserves all the praise and attention it gains. While all films are subjective, I would find it hard to believe anyone that said they didn't enjoy it. There's so much to take in without being over the top, and the film speaks volumes about the message it's trying to convey which is family. That word family can also be misconstrued, while some may look at it in a biological sense, within this film it's defined as whoever you want your family to be. Whether being a loved one or with actual family ties. I appreciated this film to the fullest, and can't wait to see it again, to uncover all the wonderful mysteries it had to offer. I've never given a film a perfect score that didn't bring out my emotions, and while it didn't for me this time, it certainly did for the rest of the audience.