Disney & Pixar’s Coco Is A Masterpiece For Every Generation
Whoever believed cartoons are just for kids anyway?
The charm of Disney is rare in two parts. The first is that it proves classics never age despite whatever direction technology is heading. The second is that older generations still find ways to fall in love with new stories. Meanwhile, Pixar has made a name for itself for its stellar animation, lovable characters and spot-on messages. So whenever the two partner up, we know there’s going to be magic.
And Coco is just the latest in that long line of masterpieces.
Miguel Rivera is a 12-year-old boy in Mexico whose passion lies in music. This is made endearingly clear by his desire to become like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. The conflict, however, lies in his family’s stubborn bias against music. We as the audience learn that Miguel’s great-great-grandmother was left by her musician husband and the family has been averse towards it ever since. They have, instead, gotten into the business of making shoes.
Then the curveball becomes blaringly obvious: Could Ernesto be Miguel’s great-great-grandfather?
To participate in a music competition on Dia de los Muertos, Miguel borrows—aka steals—Ernesto’s famous guitar. But on his first strum, Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead, where he meets his departed family members and, with the help of Héctor, meets Ernesto himself.
The theme of Coco is not exactly novel (Book of Life is set practically in the same world and many argue that the story’s telling is very Ratatouille-esque) and the ending is not unforeseeable, but the genius behind the film lies in its wit, humor and genuine sensitivity. There are choice twists along the story, but these are not what will keep your eyes glued to the screen. It is the heartfelt journey that Miguel must travel and how we’re taught—once again—how important family is.
Quite literally, what shines out the most in Coco are the visuals that it presents, which rely primarily on a palette of bright greens, blues, oranges and yellows. And unlike its more macabre accounts, Disney and Pixar’s version of the Land of the Dead is a glorious multi-leveled city that is ironically alive with a never-ending skeleton party.
To those of us that have questioned Pixar’s direction in recent releases, Coco is proof that its voice and initial charm is still well-meaning and present.
Is it the studio’s greatest ever release? Maybe, maybe not. What it is, however, is a heartfelt film that is full of color and music that will undoubtedly leave its audience feeling satisfied and warm, with perhaps a few tears running down their faces.