Review – COCO by Pixar
Leaving behind your childhood and thus your innocence, are just a little different from the rest of the complex emotions of a teenager: you can not think of it as crazy or Pixar knows to give it an original and especially emotional twist. The power of the San Francisco animation studio is that they can make a compelling adventure for the whole family of the most complex subjects and incorporate different layers.
One of the few certainties that know life is death. Go on with it: an animated film about the end and the afterlife. In this mission of Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and co-director Adrian Molina, it helps that not all cultures look bleak to death.
In Mexico, for example, they celebrate on Día de Muertos (1 and 2 November) that the souls of the dead return to earth. A strange feeling for outsiders, but a part of their life and tradition for the Mexicans.
The makers of Pixar's nineteenth feature film succeed in miraculously bridging cultural differences and sketching a universal story by twelve-year-old Miguel. He does nothing more than make music, but has been forbidden by his family to produce a note. Miguels tied to a wheelchair, ancient grandmother Coco can remember the time when her mother lost all faith in love when Coco's father, a musician, left his family.
In the run-up to the Mexican holiday, Miguel will visit the grave of the national music hero Ernesto de la Cruz who was tragically crushed by a huge object during a famous performance and thus turned the corner. Miguel is firmly convinced that he is a descendant of De la Cruz. As if by magic, the boy is sucked into the wonderful world of the dead with the stray dog Dante.Pixar is known for the beautiful finished stories where everything finally falls into place. Especially in that area Coco still disappoints. Because the bar of Pixar productions is so deceptively high and the subdivision of Disney through the finesse of the storylines stands head and shoulders above the competitors, the expectations in advance are sky-high. It is a bit less brilliant this time.
Several lines have been set out that you can end with (Miguel gets a mission on his plate and comes into contact with deadly but colorful characters and family members), but they are messy and hastily knotted together. Especially towards the end, this colorful animation adventure gets affected. For young viewers it will all be a bit too fast and too complicated.
Nevertheless Pixar presents itself again with an overwhelming visual palette where you look out your eyes. Where death in many animated films is a gray depressing affair, in the vision of Unkrich and his people the dead city where Miguel ends up is a big amusement park that is just as lively as the village where he usually finds himself among the living.
There are a lot of jokes and grolls about dead celebrities and what you can not do with bones and skulls, but the writer team likes it. Non-Mexicans will miss a lot because of the many cultural references, but you never get the feeling that you are being remembered.
It is remarkable how Unkrich managed not to put the Mexicans as a caricature. He did, however, use a number of local voices, including Gael García Bernal's, but they did not emphasize their possible accent. We do not see any siesta-loving ducks with large sombreros and thick cigars.
Coco is a feast for the eyes and a hymn to family and the bond with the deceased souls. The cross-eyed dog Dante, whose tongue is constantly hanging out of his mouth and is not too clever, reminds one of the disturbed chicken from Vaiana, but is nevertheless an entertaining sidekick. The whole is also cheered up with infectious music tracks and a very talented young voice actor who has recorded the role of Miguel.
This may not be Pixar at its best, but still a smashing animated film.