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| 29 November 2017 | Reply

Directed by Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina
Written by Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich & Adrian Molina
Starring Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
9 ½ /10

Boxing Day sees the release of Pixar’s nineteenth feature film, arguably their very best yet, proudly showing all of the lessons they have learned from those which came before in as perfect as piece of family film making as we’ve seen.

A tale of life and death, love and family set in Mexico around Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – Coco follows Miguel, a 12-year-old Mexican boy whose family have banned music of any kind for generations. Insisting Miguel join the family business and learn how to make shoes is just the start of a journey of discovery not only for our young hero, but also for the rest of his family.

Miguel has no interest in becoming a cobbler – he dreams of being a musician like the great Ernesto de la Cruz, and has even built himself a homemade guitar modelled on Cruz’s, which he hides in the attic. Miguel resolves to enter the village talent competition on Dia de los Muertos, but when his grandmother, Mamá Imelda, finds out, his guitar is the first casualty in a chain of events which leads Miguel to the Land of the Dead.

Coco is beautifully written and vibrantly colourful, even as Miguel journeys through the Land of the Dead with Héctor, a scammer who insists he can introduce Miguel to old mate de la Cruz, and – since the boy thinks the deceased musician may be his great great great grandfather – find a way back home to the Land of the Living.

The animation is stunningly photo realistic, and the story is a hoot as Miguel and street dog Dante meet ancestors, clerks, spirit guides and even Frida Kahlo in the afterlife, and discover the secrets his family have hidden all this time.

The titular Coco is Miguel’s great great grandmother, so old she now sits silently with her fading memories. As Miguel discovers more than he could ever have imagined about his ancestors in the Land of the Dead, her pivotal role in proceedings comes to light in a short but touchingly rendered scene towards the end.

Disney Pixar has hit the nail on the head in just about every way with Coco, from the stunning visuals, involving story, respect towards Mexican culture (almost the entire voice cast are Mexican) and the perfect balance of tear-jerking moments with laughs. It’s destined to become an instant family favourite.




Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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