Pixar strikes a chord with "Coco"

Pixar films are famous for their heart, animation, and tear-jerking moments, and this film made sure to check every box. 

While Pixar has produced movies ranging from stories about sentient bugs, cars, toys, and beyond, they chose to take a turn for the cultural, and didn’t disappoint. 

“Coco” tells the story of a boy named Miguel in Mexico, centering around the holiday of Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).  

When the young protagonist somehow crosses over into the land of the dead, he must figure out how to get back to the land of the living. Through his journey, Miguel must learn how to value family while also pursuing his dreams of being a musician. All the while, the film embraces the celebration of Día de los Muertos and honoring the dead.

It is difficult to make a movie, but even more-so when the film is representing a whole culture. 

Pixar creators are notorious for the extensive research they conduct with each film they make, and continued their practice by spending a lot of time in Mexico observing and learning about different aspects of the culture. 

Though the main director, Oscar nominated Lee Unkrich, is not of Hispanic heritage, which he is aware of, he made sure to take every precaution in doing this tale justice.

As a way of further respecting the theme of the film, “Coco” involved an all-Latino cast to voice the characters. Though this seems only natural, it is really an important step for many to show people of the same ethnicity getting the chance to portray themselves on screen. 

The cast which included heavy hitters such as Benjamin Bratt and Gael García Bernal struck all the right notes. Newcomer to the screen, Anthony Gonzales, who played the main character, matched the quality of his counterparts and made Miguel easy to root for and very believable.

Alongside the talent of the cast was the talent of the animators. The quality of Pixar’s animation has grown exponentially, largely due to the development of new technologies. Technology aside, the artistry of the animators shines through. The enormous amount of work to incorporate layer upon layer and each little detail requires the best talent and that is what Pixar has. 

Though the details can be lost in the grand scheme of things, if it wasn’t there, the movie would look very different.

Another form of art that played a huge role in this movie was music. The beautiful styles of Latin music are flawlessly incorporated into “Coco” to its benefit. Rarely do mainstream audiences get to enjoy the sounds of mariachi or other Latin music, but this film glorifies it. The music is fun, is heartfelt, and refreshing. By far a hallmark of the movie’s unique splendor.

“Coco” is chock full of color, spirit and identity and that is how it’ll be remembered.