Howdy ladies and gents, and welcome to another quick review and today I get to talk about a film I’ve been waiting to see for AGES! The latest film from Pixar; Coco. Now when I heard about the film before there was any visual marketing I thought it sounded alright, but I wasn’t too interested. It wasn’t until I heard some of the music during a Michael Giacchino live concert and saw early positive reviews online. Luckily there was an early preview at my cinema over the weekend, I saw it yesterday and I’m ready to pass judgement! 😀
The plot can be summed up as the following: “Aspiring musician Miguel, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.“
The story in this film was wonderful, the film is full of charm, humour, drama and emotion, excitement and adventure, life lessons and all that good stuff that you’ve come to expect from a Pixar film, but how it goes about presenting these elements is quite unique and captivating. I love how this film presents Mexican culture and while I can’t speak to how authentic it is, it felt real and insightful. Also, the way this film handles themes related to the important family, death and remembering those who have passed on, that was handled so well. But I think what made the film for me was dramatic/emotional moments, there were some really dark and surprising reveals that caught me off guard, but I was glad it was put into the story. But there were also some sweet, heartwarming and sad moments that almost made me tear up too. The only negative I put against the film is that if you’ve seen a Pixar film or animated film in general then you’ll recognise the story beats straight away and be able to predict how the narrative flows and progresses.
The vocal performances from everyone involved were great. Anthony Gonzalez was really good as Miguel Rivera, as the main character you can understand his aspirations and mindset especially if you’ve been in a similar situation with your family where you want to be yourself and not be restricted. His journey from start to finish is fun, sad and engaging. Gael García Bernal was lovely as Héctor Rivera, he is a charming and tricky kind of guy who you eventually realise has some hidden layers to him and seeing him and Miguel build their bond over the course of the film is so special. Benjamin Bratt was really good as Ernesto de la Cruz, he’s one of the most memorable characters I’ve seen in a Pixar film for a while because of his story, personality and how he ties into Miguel’s story. Alanna Ubach was incredible as Mamá Imelda Rivera, she was such a fiery and passionate person and I really liked her backstory too. Renée Victor was great as Abuelita Elena Rivera, she’s Miguel’s grandmother who can be kind and caring one minute and extremely aggressive and sassy the next. Ana Ofelia Murguía was also good as Mamá Socorro “Coco” Rivera and Edward James Olmos did a nice job as Chicharrón too.
From a presentation standpoint, the film is great. Visually the film is great, there’s a vivid colour palette with striking lighting and creative designs when it comes to the skeleton characters and the Land of the Dead. There is a nice balance between realism and the more cartoonish aspects, with the animation everything is fluid and the characters are super charismatic and elastic, while the art direction is so good with characters having a great deal of variety in the shape, size and clothing and the look of buildings, creatures and several other things look great as well. Also, the film score from my man Michael Giacchino was lovely, it had a large and notable presence throughout, it was playful, fun, and delightful, but also intense, creepy and melancholy, and the songs written by Germaine Franco, Adrian Molina, Robert Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were lovely especially “Remember Me“. In conclusion, Coco was everything I wanted and then some, it had heart, humour, adventure, surprises and really good themes in the story too. While it didn’t rock my world, it left a good feeling in my soul and you should give it a watch. 😀
So have you seen Coco and if so what did you think of it? And how do you compare it to Pixar’s previous films? Leave your thoughts in the comments below and I’ll see ya in the next review, laters! 😀