McCoy on Movies: Coco

McCoy on Movies: Coco

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Disney•Pixar brings Mexican culture and music to life in this animated film. See if our movie critic says it’s worthy of a family fiesta to go and see it in theaters.


“We have no Auto-Tune … I hope we’re good!” Aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with a charming trickster named Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal) to unravel a generations-old family mystery. Their extraordinary journey through the Land of the Dead includes an unexpected talent show performance of “Un Poco Loco,” an original song in the son-jarocho style of Mexican music written by co-director Adrian Molina and Germaine Franco for the film. Credit: © 2017 Disney•Pixar. All rights reserved.


KEY CAST MEMBERS: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor and Jamie Camil 

WRITER(S): Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich and Adrian Molina (original story by); Matthew Aldrich and Adrian Molina (screenplay)

DIRECTOR(S): Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina

WEB SITE:’S THE STORY: Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) is a boy who loves music … and that’s a problem because in his family – in the wake of his great grandfather Ernesto (Benjamin Bratt) who left them to become the greatest musician the world has ever known – music is seen as nothing short of pure evil that rips relatives apart. Miguel, however, is undeterred in his quest to become a musician himself, which is why on the Day of the Dead – in which families visit the graves of their lost loved ones – Miguel sneaks over to the mausoleum containing a guitar that once belonged to Ernesto. But once Miguel plays the guitar, he  – along with his faithful dog Dante – finds himself now in the land of the dead, which is where he sees several family members including his Mamá Imelda (Alanna Ubach), who will only give Miguel her blessing to return to the land of the living on one condition: He give up his dream of becoming a musician forever.

Of course, this makes Miguel hightail it away from Mamá Imelda and the rest of his family, which is how he runs into Hector (Gael García Bernal), a trickster desperate for Miguel to return to the land of the living and take his picture with him. Why you ask? All will be revealed throughout the course of the night.

All Miguel has to do is stay alive in the land of the dead long enough to bring our story full circle.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Disney•Pixar fans; people who will find the story culturally respectful and enriching

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? Those who will see the film as somehow not following enough realities of Mexican culture

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? At this point, Disney•Pixar has pretty much proven anything they release is gold; Coco – a film that cleverly reveals its title’s significance late in the story – is just evidence that the company can make it regardless of what language/culture its character make speak or from which they come.  

Coco features superb visuals, an original story with enough twists to entertain adults while making children smile; then again, it wouldn’t quite be a Disney•Pixar movie without some testing of your tear ducts, so one should expect the heartfelt story to make having a box of Kleenex close by a good idea. The vocal cast – Gonzalez in particular – nails each of their roles to the point you forget you are watching an animated film as the exploration of the Land of the Dead is fantastically splayed across the screen. There is enough depth to each of the critical characters to keep the story moving along at a brisk pace, all while co-writers/directors Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina provide a rich landscape of both music and humanity akin to Disney classics of yesteryear.

In short, if there is a flaw with the film, it may be that the film wraps up so succinctly you wonder how in the world its creative team will come up with a sequel worthy of Coco itself; for one will likely be heavily inclined to want to spend time with its characters again.

Who knew a journey to the Land of the Dead could be so life affirming?