Coco is the latest animated feature from Pixar animation studios and one of their ever anticipated original films, the first since “The Good Dinosaur” released back in 2015. That’s not to say Pixar hasn’t been busy, they’ve been working on sequels released between `15 and ’17 such as Cars 3 and finding Dory. As well as expected sequels Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4. I think it’s fair to say they’ve had a lot on their plate recently in Emeryville.
As noted in the title, the film is considered a 2017 release and followed an unusual release cycle for an American studio in that it was released in Mexico, then the US and has actually only been released here in the UK in January. This is a nod to the films cultural home (although not production home) of Mexico.
The story follows the coming of age of a young boy who’s musical desires are oppressed by the families fear of an old curse afflicted upon them by an ancestors passion for music. Focusing around the Mexican festival “Día de Muertos” or the day of the dead as well as family relationships and more music than ever before in a Pixar film, it would be easy to suspect that Pixar is simply trying to achieve too much with this film however its a testament to the studio, the director and the famous Brain Trust that dealing with multiple concepts and obscure visual concepts is no challenge for Pixar.
As with many of Pixars recent movies, Coco packs an emotional punch and touches on themes that will resonate with individuals from all walks of life, touching on familiar themes of Pixars such as ageing and the meaning of close family ties, albeit with the Mexican twist. Its worth mentioning that dotted around the film are Mexican words and cultural references and they blend in perfectly with the English speaking. At no point is the viewer left confused by the sound and that should go for kids too due to the clever visual cues.
Visually, the film impresses throughout as to be expected from the studio that arguably relaunched Disney Animation. The colours of the fluorescent land of the dead paired with enchanting lighting effects and set design will not leave viewers wanting. Gone are the days of the original Incredibles movie where if you stopped focusing on the story you could pinpoint ways to improve the rendered world around the main characters. That’s no longer the case with Coco and the more modern outputs from Pixar.
With Early Man being released on the 26th of January, this is a cracking start to the year for Animation. I thoroughly recommend going to see Coco and making your mind up for yourselves. Whilst I don’t think the merchandising opportunities that Toy Story brought to the table will occur here, I have no doubt that in years to come people will talk of Coco much like they do Up today and how much of an emotional impact this film had on them.