COCO’S DEAD CHARMING
DIA de los Muertos, the multi-day Mexicanoriginated holiday honouring dead family members and friends, proves to have a remarkably revitalising effect on Pixar, as evidenced by the truly resplendent Coco.
Not only does the Disney outfit’s 19th feature, co-directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, emerge as Pixar’s most original effort since Inside Out, it’s also among its most emotionally resonant, touching on themes of belonging common to Finding Dory and Toy Story 3.
Delivering a universal message about family bonds, while adhering to folkloric traditions free of the watering down or whitewashing that have often typified Americanised appropriations of cultural heritage, the gorgeous production also boasts vibrant visuals and a peerless voice cast populated almost entirely by Mexican and Latino actors.
It’s a safe bet that audiences the world over will go loco for Coco.
Despite the title, the lead character is, in fact, Miguel (terrifically voiced by young Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old resident of the town of Santa Cecilia, who dreams of becoming a famous musician just like his idol, the late, great Ernesto de la Cruz (played with pitch-perfect grandiosity by Benjamin Bratt).
Only trouble is, Miguel’s family has forbidden any form of music in their household for the past several generations.
Nevertheless, Miguel sets off to follow his muse and, in the process, finds himself subject to an otherworldly occurrence that results in him being visible only to those who have come from the Land of the Dead to take part in Dia de los Muertos celebrations.
Miguel’s only hope of reversing the effect is to be blessed with a magical marigold petal by his great-great-grandmother, Mama Imelda (Alanna Noel Ubach), but she’ll only comply under the condition that he’ll forever renounce any musical aspirations.
At every imaginative juncture, the filmmakers create a richly woven tapestry of researched storytelling, fully dimensional characters, clever touches both tender and amusingly macabre and vivid, beautifully textured visuals. The assembled voice cast similarly shines and equally affecting is the film’s musical palette, with Michael Giacchino delivering yet another stirring score. – Washington Post
LIVELY: It’s a safe bet that audiences the world over will go loco for Coco.