Verdict: The film may take place in Mexico, but the emotions you'll feel are universal.
Pixar is known for its emotionally powerful narratives, no matter where they may be set – underwater with fishes or in a toy chest – this time, it happens to be Mexico. With its latest feature, Pixar has tackled a new subject – death. Losing loved ones is an inevitable part of life but Coco manages to pack it up in a fun-filled kids-friendly movie that's all about family.
What's Coco About:
Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy from the Rivera family, wants to be a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), even though any form of music has been banned in his family for generations. Miguel is determined to follow his dreams but somehow ends up in the Land of the Dead during the Day of the Dead.
Day of the Dead is a Mexican tradition carried forward from the Aztec times to the present. It's a day where altars of the dead with their pictures called ofrendas are created and strewn with petals and offerings so the dead may come back and visit their living friends and family.
Miguel has to find his way back to the living and meets a friendly trickster, Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), who will accompany Miguel and his dog Dante in an adventure full of music and color.
From the moment Mariachi music starts playing over the backdrop of the Disney castle, you know you are transported to a new world. To those who are unfamiliar with Mexican culture, Coco is a crash course in everything Mexicano. The Mexican culture represented in the film will resonate with Indians – from large families to being lovingly overfed by maternal figures, Coco feels much closer to home than it seems.
Coco's music is a delight, with the original score composed by Michael Giacchino (who's also responsible for the gut-wrenching instrumental track in the first ten minutes of Up). It's vibrant in both its visuals and tone. There are also plenty of laughs to be had, especially from the hilarious multi-tasking bones of people in Land of the Dead. And yes, you can't escape the tears in this one.
What Could Have Been Better:
Coco is one of the best animated films in the recent years, and its few flaws are more than made up for in every other aspect. In making the film more relatable to the Mexican audience, the film does use a few Spanish words in dialogues and songs, but you will not miss much. After all, music doesn't need any language to convey feelings.
Why You Should Watch:
If you've enjoyed previous films from Pixar, especially the last directorial venture from Lee Unkrich – Toy Story 3 – this will be a joy to watch. Even if you haven't seen any other Pixar films, Coco will make a fan out of you. It's been much too long since such a memorable animated film has come to the theatres. For the younger audience, it presents a message that's easy to understand, and for the rest of us – it's an emotional journey.
P.S. Don't miss the Frozen short film that will be screened before Coco.