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Published On: Tue, Nov 21st, 2017

‘Coco’ will be an ‘out of the park’ hit, a ‘colorful celebration’ with a heart

Disney and Pixar couldn’t have picked a better time of year to release their latest animated family film, Coco (opening November 22, 2017).  As we come together this week to celebrate Thanksgiving with loved ones, you might consider skipping the insanity of pre-during-and-post Black Friday shopping to take the family to experience this beautiful production.

The story centers around a young boy, Miguel, who secretly yearns to be a musician although his family has had a ban on music for many generations after his great-great-grandfather abandoned the family to share his music with the world.  However, no matter how much his family restricts music, Miguel is bombarded by it once he steps out of the confines of the home.  Compounding his desire is the town’s obsession with musician Ernesto de la Cruz who rose from the simple streets of Miguel’s hometown to receive national fame before his untimely death.

After a series of very fast twists and turns (be sure you get your snacks ahead of time so you don’t miss anything at the beginning), Miguel finds himself in the extremely colorful Land of the Dead where he encounters his ancestors.  While his family rushes to send him back to the Land of the Living, Miguel meets the desperate Hector and is off on an adventure to find Ernesto de la Cruz and return with his blessing to pursue a musical career.

While this might make it sound like it’s a pretty simple film, there is so much more to it that I can’t share without ruining it for you.  Like a soap opera, family secrets are revealed that had a huge impact on the course of lives.  Coco also explains in greater detail the significance of the Day of the Dead and the Nahuales (colorful animal spirit guides) in the Mexican culture.  That said, I wish they would have explained the story behind the artwork on the sugar skulls.  Finally, it teaches the beautiful lesson of love for one’s family and the significance of sharing family history – not just dates on a genealogical tree, but the impact of events on family members and how they shaped future generations.  

If you are at all sentimental, expect a few tears to slip out and surprise you.  If you are like me, an emotional marshmallow AND Hispanic, you’ll be fighting the urge to cry more afterwards as the concept of family history continues to roll through your mind and you’ll find yourself telling people to “just watch it and you’ll see”.  When you understand the significance of the film’s title, you’ll be ready to have lengthy conversations with your family’s elders to learn more about their lives and memories.

So, yes, Disney and Pixar hit it out of the park with this one.  It is a colorful celebration for the eyes (even the 3D effect was great) and musically enticing to the ears with delicate guitar solos.  At only 1 hour and 49 minutes, it’s a great length for all ages.  The sharp turns in the story keep the audience engaged and move the story along very quickly.  Even if you’re not a fan of animation, I would highly recommend this film to you and your family this holiday season.

Coco receives 4 1/2 stars out of 5 stars

Author: Debbie Sage

Coco stars the voice actors: Gael García Bernal, Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor with director Lee Unkrich and Co-director Adrian Molina.

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About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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