Music to Liven the Dead: Coco (REVIEW)
Pixar as you know may well know has had a bit of a rough patch the past few years. I enjoyed Cars 3 quite a bit, same with Finding Dory but nothing that screamed classic like Finding Nemo or Ratatouille for instance. And while I don't think Coco is a classic it is certainly a very well done film about family and how history isn't truth but stories told by a subjective narrator.
This is far from the most original story you are likely to see, it follows a few basic tropes that are easy to spot but it is in service of some wonderful characters that have heart and passion and that shines through in this film. The great thing about the film is, like all good films, the characters are the main focus. No big bad guy that needs destroying, just a boy's journey to be accepted by someone for who he wants to be not what his family decides. It is a story that has been repeated so many times even as recently as Moana, but if you are going to craft a story about a kid looking to be accepted doing it in the land of the dead is a pretty fun way to do it. Miguel is a budding musician who finds out that his great great grandfather is his favorite musician Ernesto de la Cruz, his family swore Ernesto out of the family because he left them to pursue music causing music to be banished from the household, turning into a single family "Footloose" scenario.
The music is a central part of the film and it thankfully is a welcome addition, it is no musical by any means but it uses the music of the famous de la Cruz to further advance his status as we see so many people dance along and enjoy it. His mansion overseeing the city like Gatsby of West Egg. Miguel meets Hector a down on his luck man looking to have his picture put up in one of the shrines so that he can see his family befriends Miguel to help him find de la Cruz in exchange for taking his picture back. And just like that they are off on an adventure together as Hector convinces Miguel to really follow his dreams and play in front of audiences.
This defintely feels like a Disney/Pixar remix, taking elements from Ratatoullie, Moana especially but it's a good time in a setting we don't really get to see represented too often. Kudos to Pixar for branching out and diversifying it's catalog with stories that revolve around other people's cultures in a way that is accessible to those who may not know while still making a fun and entertaining film on it's own.
While not the best Pixar film, it is definitely a beautifully animated well told tale about family and legacy and what history really is.This film really comes together with great voice work, animation, lighting, music to create this world that is familiar yest fantastic. It has laughs, drama, music, it's just a smart fun family film that plays it a bit safe but is well told overall.
Music to my ears