“Coco” is the movie people didn’t know they needed. It’s a whimsical ride through the culture surrounding Dia de Los Muertos with a meaningful twist that educates and entertains. It emphasizes the importance of family over everything else.
The movie follows a young boy named Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) on his quest to be a musician, despite his family’s strong opposition to it after his great grandma Coco’s (Ana Ofelia Murguia) father abandoned the family for his music. Now, the family bans music from all parts of their life.
“‘Coco’ is the movie people didn’t know they needed.”
Miguel’s adventure to become a musician leads him to the “Land of the Dead” on Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a Mexican tradition from Oct. 31 to Nov. 2 to welcome dead family members to visit. It’s in this alternate dimension where he meets his dead ancestors on a quest to find who he believes is his great grandfather and his biggest musical idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt).
At the Chapman advanced screening of the film Nov. 3, director Lee Unkrich said it took six years to create “Coco,” and it shows. The details of the animation and the storyline would not have existed if this project was rushed. The Land of the Dead in the film was extremely detailed, as well as the skeletons within the land.
Unkrich said the movie was risky for him because he didn’t know much about the Mexican culture, but the final product was a tasteful representation of the culture because he took the time to research how to present “Coco,” which was important to him from the very beginning.
“We went down to Mexico many times, we worked with several cultural consultants – people from all different walks of life in the Latino community – to guide us and make sure we were telling a story that was authentic and respectful,” Unkrich told The Panther before the advanced screening.
From the movie’s bright colors to the silly way skeletons’ bones would fall apart and come back together, Unkrich turned the “Land of the Dead” into a colorful and eccentric place.
Since the movie focused on the importance of music, the soundtrack for the film was another highlight. The first song Miguel performs in public, “Un Poco Loco,” was a fun and uplifting song, especially accompanied with his performance, during which the audience could see him grow as a young musician.
As is customary for Pixar movies, “Coco” offered multiple lessons: It taught the audience about an unknown holiday, that family is important and that death isn’t finite.