Rob Reviews "Coco"
With the holiday season here, one of the biggest themes in our society will be that of family. Whether near or far, we think of our loved ones and hopefully will be able to spend at least a little bit of time with them, celebrating another year of life, both its peaks and valleys. Along with this time comes another expected release from Pixar/Disney, and this year, it’s “Coco”.
Up and coming young actor Anthony Gonzalez voices Miguel, a young man living in Mexico as El Dia de la Muerte approaches. Since this is the Day of the Dead, his family has gathered to honor their ancestors before them, as four generations of his family live under one roof, working their days away making shoes. Due to his great, great grandfather leaving the family to pursue music, the art form has been banned from the family itself even though Miguel has the gift within him. When he decides to defy his family and play in a talent show, he “borrows” a guitar from the grave of his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), but when he plays it, he finds himself amongst the dead with his ancestors in a race against time to not only get back to the Land of the Living but also help a new friend named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) get to see his family and not be forgotten and lost forever.
I was able to take my good friend and “sister” to this screening, and I think she said it best as the end credits rolled: “Pixar and all of their feels”. There will be many people (including myself) that saw the trailer for “Coco” and wondered if this was The House of Mouse’s version of Jorge R. Gutierrez’s 2014 “The Book of Life,” but the setting is about where those comparisons will come to an end outside of both of these films being wonderfully enjoyable. Outside of being nothing short of gorgeous visually, there is a story that goes along with those visuals that is rich, engaging, and packed full of fun and emotion along with voice talents (which also includes Gabriel Iglesias, Edward James Olmos, and Cheech Marin) that really bring the characters to life. The themes of family, love, respect for tradition, and the need for tradition are incredibly strong here co-written by Lee Unkrich (who also directed the film) that had me laughing out loud in certain points as well as getting misty in others. Running almost two hours (which seems to becoming the norm for animated features in recent years), this is yet another example of Pixar knowing their audience and delivering on it, as the screening we attended was chock full of young‘uns that were both focused and well-behaved throughout this film. There will be a short film that will be shown in some theaters that is a holiday special from the cast of “Frozen,” but we did not see it at our particular screening.
If you are looking for a film this holiday season that is a lock for being enjoyable by each and every member of YOUR family, “Coco” is right up your alley. Whether it is fun for the kids as they follow Miguel’s journey back to HIS family or an engaging story that the adults and everyone in between can both identify with and enjoy, this is another home run for Disney and Pixar!