Movie Review: Coco

Pixar’s latest film, Coco, is an epic story set in Mexico and centered around the traditional holiday, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead). In it, Miguel, a budding musician in a family that hates music, becomes trapped in the land of the dead whilst trying to emulate his famous musician ancestor, and he must find his way home before sunrise to keep from becoming one of the dead himself. It’s hard to do the story justice in a summary like this without giving it away because this is a fantastic movie. It has a gripping story with really genuine stakes (especially considering half the cast is already dead), and touching family moments that go much deeper than you expect at the start. All I can really say is, “go see it.” You’ll be glad you did.

My rating: 5 out of 5.

Coco is a really breaking new ground for Pixar. With a story set in Mexico, they went above and beyond to accurately portray Mexican culture, starting with a Mexican-American co-director and songwriters, and evenmore notably, it is the biggest-budget film ever with an all-Latino cast.* And if you’re worried that they compromised on quality by switching out their veterans, don’t be. It’s honestly hard to rank Pixar movies since literally two thirds of them are scored over 90% on Rotten Tomatoes, but Coco is absolutely a hit, showing Pixar on its top game like we haven’t seen since Inside Out.

Okay, so it’s not perfect. The plot is a bit slow in the middle, and it could afford to be tightened up by ten minutes or so, but I honestly didn’t have much of a problem with that. A lot of the plot hangs on Poor Communication Kills, but in this case, there’s at least a plausible reason for it to happen. In the end, none of the movie’s flaws are enough to detract from the quality of the story in my opinion.

Let me put it this way: it takes a lot for a movie to make me tear up. Even in very emotional movies, it rarely happens. Coco did it, and that’s probably the best endorsement I can give it.

*With one exception for Pixar’s “lucky charm,” John Ratzenberger, who stars in every Pixar movie sort of like an animated Stan Lee. He voices a small cameo role.

About Alex R. Howe

I'm a full-time astrophysicist and a part-time science fiction writer.
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