Coco Plot Summary:
When Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is forbidden by his family to become a musician, he attempts to steal the guitar of a town celebrity to prove his talent. Once he lifts the instrument, however, he gets transported to the land of the dead. His only way home is with his deceased family’s help and a meeting with the individual who made him love music in the first place.
There was a point in time where Pixar could do no wrong. The animation studio put out hit after after hit starting in 1995, but one could sense the cracks starting to show with Cars, which came 11 years later. While it was a fine film, it was pretty formulaic and failed to make the quality grade that Pixar achieved in the past decade.
From there, the studio was able to crank out some phenomenal films (Up, Toy Story 3, Inside Out), some entertaining ones, (Finding Dory, Monster’s University), some that failed to make an impact (The Good Dinosaur), and just pure garbage (Cars 2). Obviously the foundation was going to falter; nothing that good lasts forever.
It may be a good thing that Pixar didn’t start hitting it out of the park every time. We would hold them to the bar that they set so high and be disappointed if it didn’t achieve it. This is why Coco (the latest from the studio) is something truly special. It’s a treat for the eyes, the ears, the heart, and the soul. It truly epitomizes why Pixar still knows how to craft an incredible piece of cinematic wonder, even after some bumps in their projects.
I cannot sing the praises of the film enough. It is gorgeous. It is funny. It has great music. It has great characters. It is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I cried. My fiancee cried. This is Pixar at the top of its game once again.
If I had to point out any flaw (which may not even be the right word), it’s that one of the story concepts isn’t completely original. Coco has one similarity to The Book Of Life (2014)-both involve Dia De Los Muertos (“Day of the Dead”). From there, I couldn’t compare the two any further. I’d have to watch the former film again, but despite the parallel, this movie is its own beast entirely and uses the Mexican holiday as a springboard for both visual wonderment and slapstick comedy that the kids will definitely enjoy.
This movie though…I can’t get it out of my head. It so arresting in its animation right from the get go, you can’t help but be drawn right into the story. The details of wrinkles of a character’s skin, or the beauty of Miguel’s town, or the lights and spectacle of the Land of the Dead….these elements would be completely lost if the characters weren’t intriguing at the start. However, Pixar made audiences cry when a man lost his wife 20 minutes into Up and that was after a montage showcasing their marriage. These people know how to create great characters and Coco has plenty of them.
I’d really have to look at their library, but Coco may crack my top 5 for Disney/Pixar films. My enjoyment of this movie cannot be express in justifiable words. Let me just say this; movies like this are reasons why I love going to the movies. Coco offers pure escapism, with a colorful tapestry surrounding beautiful storytelling and engaging characters. This isn’t just a film. It’s a work of art. This is Pixar knowing their strengths and running with the ball all the way to the end zone. Go see it. Immediately.