This past Saturday I went to hang out with some friends and watched Coco and man – Pixar does not disappoint.
The movie centers around the protagonist, Miguel. This kid is young at heart and super passionate about music and playing the guitar – much to his family’s dismay. His family hates music is because of one particular incident – the disappearance of Miguel’s great great grandmother’s father. That man was the musician of the family. One day he left his family and never came back – causing resentment from his family generations and generations after his disappearance.
Fast forward to Miguel’s present life – there is a talent show around the corner on Día de Los Muertos. Having to fight with his family to enter the talent show, he decided that if he wanted to perform, he would have to take matters into his own hands. He decides to grab the guitar the is hung on top of Ernesto de la Cruz’s grave, a famous musician. Taking this guitar magically brings him to the land of the dead.
To sum up the rest of the movie in a few words, he basically finds a part of his family that does not want anything to do with his great great grandfather or music. The catch is that he must return to the land of the living before the day ends or else he would be trapped in the other world. Anybody in the land of the dead has the power to send him back by just ‘blessing’ him. However, he doesn’t want his family’s blessing since they still forbade him to play music when he got back home. Now, he’s on an adventure to find his great-great-grandfather so he could bless him instead. He is convinced that Ernesto de la Cruz is his great-great-grandfather, so he befriends a man named Hector in order to find him. After a series of events, he finds that Ernesto de la Cruz is not the guy that he was looking for, but instead, it was Hector! Hector turned out to be Miguel’s great-great-grandfather – much to Miguel’s relief because he found out that Ernesto killed Hector for his songs and stole his fame. He manages to tell the rest of his dead family members about this and all is forgiven with Hector. They expose Ernesto as the fraud and murderer that he is and blesses Miguel back to the living world. He rushes to Coco, his grandmother and Hector’s daughter, and sing her a tone that her father would always sing to her. This causes her to remember Hector, thus saving him from disappearing from the land of the dead. Fast forward one year – word gets around town that Hector is the real hero as opposed to Ernesto and that Coco had passed on. Music is celebrated throughout Miguel’s family and all is finally well.
The movie was overall a really thought-out piece of work. I felt like it kept the same emotional authenticity that Pixar always gave us along with Finding Nemo, Toy Story, etc. Some of my friends were even in tears at the part where Miguel was singing to Coco to remind her of her father! I’m not really familiar with the Mexican holiday but I felt like that had the accuracy of the tradition on point. It was Americanized, per se, but watching that movie, I felt I learned a lot about how the people that DO celebrate the Day of the Dead are very family-oriented.
The only real gripe I had with the movie was that I felt that the plot was a little unoriginal. Basically, the story about how a big, tough guy getting rich and famous from stealing from the town’s loser and getting exposed at the end. Of course, there are variations of this plot but it still feels a bit recycled. Other than that, I give this movie a 4 out of 5.