Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews! Just as a heads up, this review may contain a few spoilers or may reference them, but Coco is an amazing film and having seen spoilers will not ruin the review for you.
One type of film that’s becoming increasingly popular with both studios and audiences is films that shed light on other cultures. We’ve seen this in a few big films, like The Big Sick, but animation has always tackled this idea of stories from other cultures. Disney has done this since the beginning of time, taking on stories from Arabia (Aladdin), China (Mulan), Greece (Hercules), and the list goes on! The most recent addition to this is Coco, focussing in on Mexican culture surrounding the Day of the Dead, or El Dia de Los Muertos.
From Lee Unkrich, director of Finding Nemo and Toy Storys 2, 3 and 4, comes the story of Miguel, a young guitarist trying to be a musician despite his family’s long-held ban on music. He travels to the dead realm where he befriends Hector. The two friends go on a quest to discover the truth about Miguel’s family ban on music and his family history. The movie features the voices of Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal and Alanna Ubach.
For a kid’s/family movie, Coco was highly entertaining and the comedy used in the film was perfect. The opening told via the bunting was a nice little introduction to the film, and it was sweet how the film ended similarly too. The use of colour in the film was phenomenal, some of Disney’s best. As a kid who grew up loving Finding Nemo and The Incredibles, it was pleasant to see a film that was classic Disney. The animation was beautiful and I genuinely felt like a child watching the film. Miguel was a fun character to follow, and his passion for music was evident, and his barrier from music was logical. Dante served as the animalistic comic relief character. For an animal that didn’t talk, he was pretty funny, but that was literally it. He served as the comic relief who made us laugh but didn’t really help in any other way.
Coco teaches kids a strong and valuable lesson and family and tradition. To me, it’s very Lee Unkrich to have that in a film. Finding Nemo certainly has it, as does Coco. I think one thing that does change as you grow up and watch Disney movies is the message that it gives you. As a child in Coco, you’d be laughing at Dante and some other comedic parts, but as you get older and have learnt more about life, you realise more of the message and meaning of the film. Personally, no one can make films like that other than Disney. Sure, Dreamworks may do it here and there, but this is something that Disney is quite notorious for and executed perfectly every time.