Pixar continues to give us tear-jerking yet twisted films. You know…. FOR KIDS!
Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) gives us the latest installment of Pixar’s ever-growing collection of animated marvels. Starring Anthony Gonzales, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Benjamin Bratt, the film heavily features the annual Dia de Muertos/Day of the Dead, a huge part in Mexican culture.
Born in a family that loathes music, Miguel (Gonzales) dreams of becoming a famous musician just like his idol, the deceased Ernesto dela Cruz (Bratt), who he believes to be his great-great-grandfather. After knowing of a talent show, Miguel steals the famous guitar of Ernesto in his mausoleum. However, the act soon sends him to the land of the dead, where he meets his deceased relatives. Miguel decides to look for Ernesto. A forgotten spirit, Hector (Bernal) gives Miguel his assistance in exchange for his picture to be brought to the living (so he can ‘live’ in the land of the dead).
For this review, I will talk about the negative things first before the positive ones.
First, the set-up of the film has heavy similarity with 2014’s The Book of Life: family of music-loving protagonist forcing him to do something else; the Day of the Dead event; and the protagonist being transported to the Land of the Dead.
Second, we have seen a lot of these “my family and my dreams do not mix together” stories a loooooot of times.
Lastly, the big reveal/plot twist about Hector being Miguel’s real great-great-grandfather was veeerrryyyy predictable. Once the picture of Miguel’s great-great-grandparents and Hector’s introduction were shown, it was simply two puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly.
But despite its predictability and used story elements, what makes the film stand out is its execution. This film made me cry a river! Despite being a film that heavily features death, it is a film filled with such energy and…life.
Also, the CGI of the film is just a visual spectacle! Watching Pixar films is like watching the history of CGI animation.
I might be in the minority here, but I like how Disney/Pixar features yet another film where the protagonist’s hero is revealed to be the bad guy (ie. Up). It gives children a side of reality rarely seen in average kids show/movies.
Speaking of kids show/movies, it is a delight to hear the words kill and murder again! 2014’s Big Hero 6 was too scared to say the protagonist’s parents are dead (they instead used the word gone). Here, they outright say it just like any normal person will speak about it. It gave the film much more gravity and tension when it needed it to be.
Lastly, I love how the film touches on the theme of family, acceptance, and…duh…death.
Coco is another hit from Pixar. Despite the predictability of its twist and the cliche scenario of its protagonist, it has a touching and deep story. This is definitely…