Disney and Pixar’s latest creation explores death, spirits, and betrayal, but don’t let that stop you from taking your children to see it.
In Coco, 12-year-old Miguel Rivera’s passion in life is music and playing the guitar. He dreams of becoming as successful as his idol, singer Ernesto de la Cruz. Sadly for Miguel, he belongs to a family of shoemakers where music has been strictly forbidden for generations. This ban was put in place after his great-great-grandfather walked out on his wife and daughter to pursue a career as a musician.
In a desperate attempt to prove his talent and lift the music ban in the family, Miguel ends up discovering a vital piece of evidence which proves that he is related to Ernesto de la Cruz. When even that is not enough for his family, he runs to de la Cruz’s crypt and magically ends up in the “Land of the Dead” on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos.
Along the way he meets Hector, a homeless outcast, who agrees to help Miguel meet his great-great grandfather.
Death may sound scary but the manner in which it’s depicted in Coco is both delightful and stunning without the creators seemingly romanticising the “afterlife”. Unlike many other stories where the concept of death is used to draw out sadness or anger towards a character, Coco introduces it positively and in a reassuring manner for children and adults alike. It explains that while no one escapes this natural occurrence, those we love live on forever and will get to see again.
Most of the story takes place in the vibrant “afterlife” which draws inspiration from Mexican traditions and beliefs. The wonderful work behind achieving such beautiful and colourful visuals have generated some Oscar buzz already and one can certainly see why. The style of animation adds an extra sense of magic and wonder even throughout the darker moments in the story.
Apart from death and the “afterlife”, music is the other major element that makes Coco so special. Audiences are treated to a number of lovely Mexican songs, many of which will want to make you get up and dance or at least listen to them on your way home.
While there is plenty of humour accompanying Miguel’s quest in the “Land of the Dead” to meet his successful relative, there are just as many touching moments too. One involving Coco (Miguel’s great grandmother) is particularly beautiful and might just get a tear or two from audience members.
Coco is unmissable for all Disney and Pixar fans. (8.5/10)
Coco (rated PG) opens in Australia on Boxing day.