Pixar studios has always been a great paragon for animation and storytelling working hand in hand and Disney does its best to make all stories inclusive to all audiences.
Coco is a wonderful family adventure about the history and culture of the Mexican people through the kaleidoscope of the popular holiday, Day of the Dead. Pixar animators not only give life to the beautiful history of the tradition but also accentuate in their story telling of how important this celebration is to family.
With the lack of great family films now, Coco is a welcome breath of fresh air showing many things our society forgets since family values have almost disappeared from our daily life style. The writers of Coco don’t choose to show a perfect family, they also show the problems such as the stubbornness of change from one generation to the next, conditional love and the most fleeting of discussions; family versus the pursuit of your dreams. It also tackles things like mortality and memories of loved ones in such a positive way that may help children and adults cope with the process of death and mourning.
The film begins with the story of Miguel, a young boy who was born to a family of shoemakers, who passed down t heir craft from generation to generation making a practical life out of their craft. Miguel however was different, he loved music. He played guitar like a virtuoso playing a piano.
He was good at it and his passion was to play for others and share his music. Pixar never disappoints in illustrating the intricate movements of strumming a guitar and singing and moving so fluidly. One can feel the music flow through him and as an artist and filmmaker I can certainly relate with this feeling of freedom.
The story goes on to illustrate the conflict Miguel has between his opportunity to perform in the plaza to make his dreams come true and his family’s wishes to stay home and honor the ancestors of the past. It was an important time for all family past and present to gather and share in each other’s company and remember them in fond memories through photographs, favorite items and food. Mama Coco is the oldest living relative of the family and the daughter of the matriarch Imelda, who has kept silent for all these years until one day Miguel mentions her dad.
This sends the family into a stubborn stance on the ban of music in the house since Coco’s dad had left Imelda to pursue a life as a musician. Eager to find out more about his ancestor, Miguel is taken on a strange journey to the land of the dead to discover more about his family’s past.
The filmmakers certainly did their research adding those little intricate details such as the green Adidas jersey of the Mexican soccer team or the small plate of pan de leche on the desk of the arrival clerk. In terms of the Day of the Dead holiday, the children will fawn over the delightful colors of the city of the dead and the brightly decorated Alebrijies that were brought in to make the typical negative view of the holiday more festive. Careful consideration was also given to the heated debate over calling the holiday Día De Muertos or Día De Los Muertos. Both translations were used to reflect both sides. There were also nods to famous Mexican celebrities like Frida Kahlo, and the famous lucha libre wrestler, El Santo!
The film is a masterpiece in its storytelling and bright and colorful animation that kids of all ages will enjoy, and families will gather to appreciate in generations to come. Available on Blue Ray DVD and Digital.