by Tim Birkbeck
Taking a trip into the afterlife may not be what you come to expect from a brightly coloured, fun filled family film. But when it comes to Pixar the gloves are off and the rules are there to be broken, because for the animations giants there’s no concept so difficult that they can’t make it breathtaking.
This is exactly the case in the group’s latest endeavour Coco where the viewer is taken to Mexico to observe Dia De Muertos – the day of the dead. Our hero, a young boy called Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) who longs to sing and play guitar just like his hero, the most famous man in all of Mexico, Ernesto De La Cruz. But there is an issue, for generations his family have banned all music from their house.
However, the urge for Miguel to play is too strong and he steals a guitar from his idol’s tomb and finds himself transported to the Land of The Dead. After realising what has happened the young musician must find his ancestors with the help of down and down skeleton Hector (Gael García Bernal) to get their blessing and send him back to the land of the living.
There is quite a bit of explaining to do on the films subject matter – outlining what Dia De Muertos is and what it means for those who have died – but once Miguel passes into this bright and colour world full of skeletons it runs through at a very brisk pace.
Pixar have this ability to make you feel empathy for objects and beings that you may otherwise never do, but what is incredible in Coco is the attention to detail. The structure of the skeletons, the facial detail of the living characters – Miguel only having a dimple on one side of his face – and the overall look and fell of the Land of The Dead is something to look at in amazement.
By the time we reach the third act, the narrative does become a little predictable, but when you reach the crescendo even the hardest of hearts will find it difficult not to be engulfed by this absolutely wonderful tale.
Dir: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Scr: Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz
Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, Jaime Camil, Alfonso Arau and Herbert Siguenza
Prd: Darla K. Anderson
Music: Michael Giacchino
Country: USA / Mexico
Run time: 105 mins
Coco is in cinemas now