Silver Chips Online

"Coco" brings vibrant color and life to the land of the dead

Coco takes viewers on an unforgettable emotional rollercoaster

By Mahnaz Habib, Ombudsman
December 11, 2017
Pixar and Disney have taken us into outer space with "WALL-E", inside our mind with "Inside Out", and under the ocean with "Finding Dory," but "Coco" enters into a world that we've never seen before. "Coco" takes viewers through a spiritual journey to connect with ancestors, uncover the truth behind family history and celebrates the purpose of El Dia de los Muertos. A heartwarming and culturally sensitive movie, "Coco" is one of the best Pixar films in years that reminds everyone that family is forever.
Coco tells an amazing tale of a boy who must find his inspiration, and reminds us all what it means to be part of a family. Courtesy of Bandit Lifestyle
Coco tells an amazing tale of a boy who must find his inspiration, and reminds us all what it means to be part of a family.

"Coco," directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, is the story of a 12 year old boy, Miguel (Anthony Gonzales), who aspires to become an accomplished musician just like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. Unfortunately, Miguel’s family has banned music generations ago when Miguel’s great-great-grandmother was abandoned by her husband, a musician. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel attempts to participate in a talent show on El Dia de los Muertos, a holiday which focuses on gatherings of family to pray for and remember their ancestors. He soon finds himself in the Land of the Dead, among all the ancestors who want to meet up with their families. Along the way he meets a charming trickster, Hector, and together they go on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.

From the beginning, viewers see the ambitious personality of Miguel, and the foreshadowing of the significance of Miguel’s great grandma Coco. Even though Miguel's grandma seems cold hearted for taking away Miguel’s hopes and aspirations to become a musician, one feels a sense of sympathy both for Grandma and Great Grandma Coco.

The tale that unfolds through the first quarter of the film is not incredibly innovative, but what makes this Pixar film stand out is the humor: the balance of comic relief and a heartwarming genuine quality. The perfectly timed twist added towards the middle of the film clutches the viewer’s heart and keeps them emotionally attached for the rest of the story. Just when the viewers think they understand most of the story, Miguel learns the truth, and everything changes. Although the ending of the movie can be pretty much predicted, it absolutely touches your heart and leaves tears in your eyes.

The beautiful and inspirational music of "Coco," composed by Michael Giacchino, is the highlight of the film. Accenting the score is the memorable song, "Remember Me," by Robert Lopez. The song plays several times throughout the film, intentionally building on different emotions, first as a joyful performance, and then as a heartwarming lullaby. The final scene of "Remember Me" perfectly ties the entire tale together and celebrates the true purpose of El Dia de los Muertos. Other memorable pieces include "The World Es Mi Familia" and "Un Poco Loco," both upbeat songs that bring Miguel’s heritage to life.

The beautiful, vibrant visuals of "Coco" just adds another layer to the film, like a cherry on top of a sundae. Upon arrival in the Land of the Dead, Miguel stares in awe at the beautiful array of buildings and lights where the skeletons travel to connect with their living family. This carefully crafted scene embodies the bright and "lively" Land of the Dead. The duality between the mortal and immortal world brings rich animation and vibrant colors, including a golden bridge that brings the "crossover" between the two worlds, and the magical marigold petals that swirl in the air as Miguel strums his guitar.

Without a doubt, "Coco" is deserving of a five out of five star rating. Every aspect of a perfectly animated film was there, from the carefully crafted story to the beautiful music to the vibrant visuals, nothing was lacking. The messages that this film shares with viewers reminds us all of the power of love, and the genuine meaning of family. After getting off the emotional rollercoaster, "Coco" will have you singing "Remember Me" for weeks, because it truly is an unforgettable movie.

Coco is rated PG and is now playing in theatres everywhere

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/13662