Following the success of last year’s Moana, Disney’s latest animated collaboration with Pixar is another exploration of a culture rarely seen on screen. Coco presents a dazzling and heartwarming coming of age tale about the importance of family with the most visually stunning animation of the year.
Set during Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, the film follows Miguel, a young boy dreaming of becoming a musician. However, his family has put a ban on all music, leading him to pursue it on his own. In his quest (with his wacky animal sidekick, a dog named Dante), he is transported to the Land of the Dead where he uncovers what led to his family’s refusal to let him pursue what he believes is destiny.
Heavy on Mexican tradition, Coco is equally representative of Mexican culture in its casting of voice actors. From the young Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel, to well-known names like Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Gabriel Iglesias, and more. Thanks to the film’s cast and impeccable screenwriting, the audience is given memorable characters who provide a handful of laughs and incredible music in a story woven with an emphasis on love, forgiveness, and passion. Many of the songs featured in the film, like “Un Poco Loco,” “The World Es Mi Familia” and “Remember Me” (written by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, the Oscar-winning team behind Frozen), have the potential of joining the ranks of other cherished Disney hits.
This heartwarming tale is complemented by the film’s vibrant, rich, and stunning texture of the world created. The story is seamlessly integrated into the visual representation of Mexican culture and one of its many celebrations in Disney and Pixar’s mystical Land of the Dead, one of the studios’ most ambitious creations. It’s rooted in Mexican architecture reminiscent of the intrinsically lit Guanajuato, with the appearance of ancient monuments like the Pyramids of Teotihuacán. The film looks like it could have been painted by the likes of Frida Kahlo, one of the many Mexican historical figures who make an appearance in the film.
Coco will tug at your heartstrings as it explores a culture often neglected, and a narrative that is incredibly important in the hopes of continuing the trend of cultural exploration to bring more heartfelt, diverse stories to the screen in a Hollywood where it’s often scarce.
(Featured Image: Coco, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures)