Director: Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina
Writers: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Jason Katz and Matthew Aldrich
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach
Release Date: January 19th (In Ireland)
Disney Pixar’s latest feature-length animation, Coco, is centred around the Mexican tradition of Día de los Muertos, whereby the lives of the deceased are celebrated with food, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life.
Along the way, Miguel unearths secrets of his family’s past and his adventure takes on a deeper meaning.
The protagonist, twelve-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), is an aspiring musician who dreams of being like his idol, the singer Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). However, his family has a mysterious ancestral ban on music so he is forbidden from practising openly. Desperate to follow his dreams and seize his moment, Miguel finds himself in the Land of the Dead where he searches for his great-great-grandfather who was a musician.
Along the way, Miguel unearths secrets of his family’s past and his adventure takes on a deeper meaning. The film makes the audience think about life, death, family, and legacy. In this way, although otherworldly, the plot feels very real and human.
A deserving winner of the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Animated, this film is Pixar doing what Pixar does best: family animation that has the power to move audiences and looks beautiful. Every frame, from Santa Cecilia, to the Land of the Dead, is stunning. Crossing over into the Land of the Dead allows the animators to use as many colours as they want, and they capture the joyous essence of the Mexican celebration in doing so.
Six years were spent making the film, which is the longest on any Pixar film.
In his acceptance speech at the Golden Globes, writer and director Lee Unkrich said that the film took six years to make, which is the longest production journey of any Pixar film. It was worth all that time as the finished product is mesmerising. The level of detail in the animation is incredible and at times the characters look extremely lifelike; the wrinkles and features of Mama Coco are strikingly realistic.
Given the nature of the film, it is only right that the soundtrack is as good as the storyline. Audiences will leave the cinema with ‘Remember Me’ stuck in their heads. All the voice actors are phenomenal and never miss a beat.
The film opened in Mexico before any other market and has already become the highest grossing film of all time in the country. It is likely that this would not have happened if the filmmakers had not paid as much attention to getting the details of Día de los Muertos correct.
In a nutshell: I may or may not have shed a tear. An early contender for my film of the year; it’ll be hard to beat!