Geek Review: Coco

Pixar’s latest opened over the weekend, and while Pixar usually has a short of their own before their works, this one opened with some sort of holiday-themed songfest where this obnoxiously stupid snowman was trying to do something nice for these two sisters named Irma and Eliza or something.  I don’t know.  I haven’t seen Frozen.

Let’s talk about Coco.

Coco is the story of Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez).  He’s an aspiring musician in a family full of shoemakers who hate any and all music.  When Miguel’s great-grandmother was still a little girl, her father left the family to pursue a musical career, and afterwards, the girl’s mother threw herself into the shoe business and against any sort of music, a trend that continues to the present day.  Miguel is an outcast within his own family, a boy who loves the rich musical traditions of his village, but can’t begin to even listen to it without getting a lecture from his grandmother.  As it is, the relative Miguel expresses the most affection for is his elderly great-grandmother, a woman who barely seems capable of doing anything and may not even know who Miguel is.  She keeps asking for her papa, the lost musician.

As it is, on the Day of the Dead, Miguel decides to enter a music competition.  He has come to the conclusion his missing great-great grandfather was the famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), so it won’t be a problem to borrow the dead man’s guitar.  That decision lands Miguel in the Land of the Dead, and if he wants to get back, he needs the blessing of a family member on that side, but they seem to be as against music as his living relatives, so with only a street dog named Dante and a nearly forgotten con man named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), his only option is to somehow get Ernesto’s blessing instead.

This is a Pixar movie, so you know the plot won’t be quite that straightforward.  The plot twist, such as it is, wasn’t that surprising, but there are a few moments that might provoke some tears (Pixar is good at that), the brilliant colors of the afterlife really pop, and there’s some good skeleton-based humor.  With a mostly Latino cast (plus Pixar mainstay John Ratzenberger), Coco may not hit the heights of something like Inside Out, but it’s a good time at the movies for the whole family.  Nine out of ten Frida Kahlo impersonators.

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