The first thing most everybody will notice and mention about Coco is that it is quite possibly Pixar’s most vibrant and beautiful film yet. I’m sure I could say that with each new Pixar release, but in all honestly, they almost always improve upon their last film in terms of stunning visuals. Coco is a feast for the eyes, with some of the most colorful and complex backdrops and character designs I’ve ever seen in an animated film.
Miguel is the lead character in the film, and he has aspirations of becoming a musician. He idolizes the famous fictional guitarist, Ernesto de la Cruz, but his family has strict rules against music of any kind because of something that happened many generations ago. After sneaking away from his family, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead), and there he meets many lively characters and ancestors and learns about his family’s past.
One of the first skeletons he meets in the Land of the Dead is Hector, a deadbeat musician who wants to visit his living family but is unable to since nobody in the Land of the Living put up his photo. He’s voiced by Mexican actor Gael García Bernal, and he’s one of the most amusing characters in the film. Each and every character we meet in Coco feels like they have a rich backstory and are more than just a picture on the screen, and that’s what makes the world of the movie so fascinating.
The vocal performances are uniformly exceptional, as they often always are in Disney animations, but the standout is Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel, who brings his naive, curious, rebellious character to life in classic Pixar fashion with excellent charisma. His character is charming and relatable, and if I’m not mistaken, Gonzalez sang all of the songs his character performs in the film. That leads me into another thing I really love about Coco, which is the music. The score from genius composer Michael Giacchino is really good, and the movie also features some great mariachi songs that are performed by the characters onscreen. The animated musicals are usually left to Walt Disney Animation Studios, but the way Coco integrates music into the story without making it a musical is refreshing and captivating.
Above all, Coco is a movie about family. It explores Latino culture in a rich and absorbing way, and we learn about Miguel’s story and his past in an extremely personal way. I grew to really love the characters, and by the end, in Pixar’s traditional tearjerker style, I was significantly impacted by the story. This film, as expected, has everything for the perfect family night at the movies. There are bright colors and fun characters for the youngest kids, clever jokes and emotional depth for older viewers, and an entertaining adventure for all ages. As an honest exploration of culture and as a heartwarming family film, Coco is absolutamente increíble!
— Camden McDonald