Now showing: COCO

‘Coco’ teaches its audience about the unbreakable bonds between family. Its exciting storyline and stunning visuals ensure that it will become a favorite of both kids and adults.

Amy Miyahara, Asst. A&E Editor

Since its  beginning, Disney Pixar has been known for films that tug on people’s heartstrings, and their newest release, “Coco,” is no exception. With an exciting yet tear-jerking plot, gorgeously vibrant animation and memorable characters, “Coco” ranks among the company’s finest work.

Co-directed by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, the film focuses on Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez), a twelve-year-old boy who dreams of following in the footsteps of renowned musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), despite his family’s generation-long ban on music. When Miguel gets swept into the whimsical Land of skeletons of people who have passed away, he needs the blessing of a deceased relative to return home and pursue his musical ambitions.

With the help of Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), a skeleton who is in danger of being forgotten, Miguel journeys to find his great-great-grandfather to receive his blessing and send him home to the living world, learning lessons on the true role of family in the process.

Before its release, many questioned whether or not “Coco” would be seen as a rip-off of the 2014 20th Century Fox film, “The Book of Life.” While the two films share similar colorful aesthetics and lead characters who wish to pursue music despite their family’s wishes, the two are completely different stories. “The Book of Life” is a love story and adventure film about following your heart, while “Coco” is a coming-of-age film that highlights the importance of family.

“Coco” is Pixar’s first film with a person of color in the lead, and the first with a cast almost entirely composed of people of color. This is a long-overdue, refreshing break from its tradition of focusing on either white characters or inanimate objects.

With a score composed by Michael Giacchino, who also worked on “Up,” and songs by “Frozen” writers Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, the music of Coco perfectly matches the heartfelt tone of the film. In particular, “Remember Me,” which is used in the film as a bridge between generations, has simple but touching lyrics that convey the unbreakable bond between family members.

Even if the storyline of “Coco” isn’t Pixar’s best, the film most definitely has the best visuals. Scenes of the Land of the Dead are breathtaking, packed with multicolored lights and uniquely painted skeletons from top to bottom. “Coco” is one of Pixar’s most heartwarming films, as Miguel must decide whether to follow his heart or listen to his family, ultimately finding that the two are not mutually exclusive. While the film touches on the power of a family’s love, a typical theme in children’s movies, it also addresses death and legacy, which are not as common in animated films. It does so with a genuineness that adds a layer of depth to the film, while still being family friendly and entertaining.

Overall, “Coco” is a fantastic film that people of all ages will enjoy. Exploring a culture not often put into film while telling a timeless tale of the importance of family, “Coco” proves to be an instant classic.