SLIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD
Synopsis: Young aspiring musician, Miguel exposes a curse on Día de Muertos which lets him cross over into the after-life to find his great great grandfather who was one of the most famous musicians in Mexico history.
Would you be able to sit through it?: How do you say “Absolutely” in Mexican? Pixar just keeps upping their game, especially in the animation department. But story-wise they have another bona fide classic that will continue to entertain and amaze audiences for generations to come. While some of the plot and its twists weren’t that original and surprising it was still an effective heartwarming tale. I thoroughly enjoyed it more than I expected by the way the trailers made it out to be. I kept joking that it was Pixar’s Footloose, wherein, the family banned music of any sort since the great-great-grandfather left his family to be a musician, never to return.
Any scary/violent parts?: I think I said that The Good Dinosaur was the scariest and most mature of the Pixar flicks but now Coco takes that honor. There’s an actual murder of a human being character, a first I believe for a Pixar feature and I’m trying hard to think of another Disney animated feature that featured an actual murder (Snow White was poisoned but ‘resurrected’—not really the same thing) Sure, the character that was killed was ‘alive’ in the after-life as a walking talking skeleton but the character is actually murdered in cold blood and we witness the death. Pretty heavy-handed stuff for a young audience.
And I’m totally glossing over the fact that 95% of the characters are dead skeletal corpses. So if your youngins’ ain’t afraid of the trailers or skeletons, you should be good.
Anything that will screw up your kid’s head?: Well, the aforementioned murder scene might raise some young eyebrows, but other than that it shouldn’t mess them up too much.
Any lessons to be learned?: Follow your dreams! “Seize your moment” as the Mexican troubadour Ernesto de la Cruz keeps repeating. Young Miguel is forced by his family to not listen to music and instead follow in the family business of making shoes. He defies them thoroughly to achieve his dream of becoming a musician. In the end, he is proven that it’s OK to rebel against people, especially loved ones, to achieve your goal. He also learns that family is muy importante.
Recommended age: 5. I think any younger it would be confusing and a bit scary. My youngest is 5 and a half and she really enjoyed it.
3D?: I never take my kids to see 3D but the visuals in Coco may be enhanced by a 3D presentation.
Rent it, buy it or avoid it?: Buy. I look forward to seeing this again pronto. I haven’t liked a Pixar movie this much since Toy Story 3. My eyes were getting a tad misty by the end, but I think the auditorium was very dusty. I’m not sure. My only complaint really is that it didn’t feature enough Cheech Marin. But the visuals were splendid and amazing, the story was great, music was top-notch, and it was funny and heart-warming. I really don’t know why Pixar calls their movies ‘animation’ anymore since they look better than real photographed life. One day the line between animation and photographs will blur with Pixar probably.
Score: 9 Hot Tamales (out of 10)
Preceding Short: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. Not really a short per se, as it was a bewildering 21 minutes long of Olaf going around Arendelle to find the Frozen sisters a new holiday to celebrate since Elsa more or less ruined everything growing up locked in her room for a decade and a half. I was fine, don’t get me wrong. I actually liked it a lot—I just wish (and from what I’ve been hearing from most audiences) that it was what it was originally planned to be, which was an ABC TV holiday special. I can see me and my girls watching this each and every Christmastime from now on but it was way too long to be tacked on to a feature presentation.