Coco (PG)

Featuring the voice of Anthony Gonzalez, Coco tells the story of 12 year old Miguel; a Mexican boy who is serendipitously taken on an adventure to learn about his ancestors on el dia de los muertos (the day of the dead). El dia de los muertos occurs annually on October 31st through November 2nd.  How the days are celebrated vary from region to region. Overall, the days are set aside to honor the deceased members of one’s family. (There’s a lot more to it and you can read about some of it here, if you care to.) During these days it is believed that the spirits of the dead visit the living and this visitation is celebrated in numerous ways. Through a series of fateful events, Miguel gets to personally interact with his deceased ancestors while on a quest to return to the living. There are many unexpected obstacles to overcome during this time. If he fails to transition he will be forever stuck among los muertos.

There is so much to like about Coco. The original story is refreshing. I think we can all agree when I say, Hollywood needs more stories like Coco in its arsenal. Disney has done it right this time! Similarly to Queen of Katwe (here my review if you’ve not seen it), they are handling “unconventional,” diverse, “non-princess” stories with respect. What I enjoy most about Coco is that it provides a palatable means for adults and younger people (children, nieces, nephews, wards, etc.) to discuss death and dying, ancestors, family pride, self confidence and autonomy, dream building, dream seeking, dream preparation so that your dream is not just a wish, conflict resolution, adversity, and other subjects that wouldn’t necessarily come up in the course of ordinary conversation. In this way, Coco is an absolutely brilliant film that anyone can relate to regardless of ethnicity.

Coco is mostly well written by Lee Unkrick. I use the term “mostly” only because it takes a dark turn that may be a bit much for the wee tots to take in. It will appeal to more mature children and adults can sit through it without falling asleep or just waiting for it to be over with.

Coco is beautifully and intricately animated. I felt as though I was inside this cartoon city in rural Mexico where Miguel lives with his living family and then in the City of the Dead, where Miguel gets to know his ancestors. The amount of work put into this movie is incredible. It is evident in every detail. Kudos to the animation, visual effects, sound, and camera and electrical departments. From Miguel’s hands when he plays the guitar, to the glistening flowers and the lights of the City of the Dead, everything is thoughtfully and realistically detailed. The songs are memorable and move from funny, to sweet, to sad, to uplifting. Through the music, Coco took me through a range of emotions where I laughed and cried and laughed again.

Coco earned 9 out of 10 bloops, mainly for its original subject matter revolving around the death of loved ones and the importance of knowing our past so we can move forward with our future. It artfully incorporates the feelings surrounding loss into an animated movie. If you’ve lost a loved one recently, and you need a good cry, you will get it. Coco isn’t particularly sad, but it is touching and will remind you of those family members you’ve lost and miss dearly. It intertwines feelings of sorrow, grief, honor, pride and celebration, so it doesn’t get too dark. When it is darker, it doesn’t stay dark for long. The animation is superb.  The story is not predictable and has a couple of unexpected twists.  Use your own discretion regarding younger children and remember that every movie labeled PG is not for every child. Go see it and enjoy.

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1   =   worst ever, avoid at all cost
2   =   very bad, forget about it!
3   =   poor movie, not recommended
4   =   not good, even for free – NO!
5   =   so-so, worth it if you don’t have to pay
6   =   not bad, could have been better
7   =   good movie, worth seeing
8   =   great movie, don’t miss it!
9   =   excellent movie, a must see!
10 =   a masterpiece, go see it now!

What I’m reviewing next…

Who knows. At this point and it could be anything!

What I’m absolutely seeing this week – because of Christmas weekend I got a bit behind schedule. If you want to know where I’ll be, check the theater – it’s going to be busy…

The Post
All the Money in the World
Molly’s Game
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – I’m going to see this one for you all, not for myself.  I’m not expecting much but will go in with an open mind.

Other Reviews

The Greatest Showman
The Disaster Artist
Call Me By Your Name
Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri
The Shape of Water
The Man Who Invented Christmas
Victoria and Abdul
Thor: Ragnarok
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
Good Time
Atomic Blonde
Girls Trip
Spider-Man: Homecoming
The Big Sick
Baby Driver
All Eyez on Me 
It Comes at Night 
The Wedding Plan 
Wonder Woman
Everything, everything
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
Kong: Skull Island
The Girl with All the Gifts
A Cure for Wellness 
Get Out
Hidden Figures
Hell or High Water
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea
Hacksaw Ridge
Nocturnal Animals
Captain Fantastic
I Am Not Your Negro
The Lobster


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