Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun first two acts; music; visuals; voice actors
Cons: Final act is very dark
The Bottom Line:
The Day of the Dead
Forms backdrop for Pixar film
That is very dark
Dark Visit with the Dead
I look forward to each new Pixar movie and despite the unusual setting for Coco, it was no exception. Since I spent Thanksgiving with my own family, I wasn’t able to go until this last Friday night. It wasn’t the film I was hoping for, although I think part of that was me.
The movie features the Mexican festival of the Day of the Dead and centers around Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez). He’s a boy living in a family known for two things, the shoes they make and their ban on music. It seems that his great-great grandfather was a musician who left the family, and music has been banned ever since. There’s just one problem, Miguel loves music, and he’s very good at it.
Unable to abide by the family’s ban on music any longer, Miguel decides to enter a talent festival his village is hosting this year for the Day of the Dead. The problem? He needs a guitar, so he decides to steal one from the tomb of his idol, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). However, when he grabs it, he finds himself magically transported to the land of the dead. Will he meet up with his family? Can he find his way back to the land of the living?
Obviously, as a Christian, I disagree with the premise of the film, but I went in with an open mind, viewing this as a fantasy. I was hoping for a light comedy, and I was expecting a moral on the importance of family.
I definitely got that moral on the importance of family. In fact, this movie drives it home in a very strong way. Since I agree that family is important, I was very happy with that. I also appreciated how they played out Miguel’s desire to play music against his family’s ban on music.
And yes, I did get some laughs. The first half of the movie is very fun. A couple of scenes might be a little scary for kids, but most kids should be okay with them.
However, when we reached the third act and geared up for another of Pixar’s patented Climaxes That Will Not Quit, things took a very dark turn. Mind you, I am very impressed with their story telling, and I get what they were doing. However, I honestly think the movie may be too dark for kids. As a result, I definitely recommend you view this movie before you let them watch it.
And here’s where my own week comes into play. I’d had a very long, stressful week, and I think I took that into this movie. As a result, I took this final act very hard. Oh, I know I would have been tearing up, but it actually left me depressed. I know that isn’t what they were going for, but a few elements of that third act were that dark. This is why I saw watch it before you let your kids see it.
For a movie that focuses on music, you’d expect the music in this film to be wonderful, and it truly is. The soundtrack will have you smiling along with the antics of the characters for the first two thirds.
The cast was mostly unknown to me, which just means I can get lost in the action that much easier. I certainly have no complaints in that department.
Likewise, the animation is fantastic, but I expect no less from Pixar. Visually, they are at the top of their game.
But it’s that third act that troubles me. I suspect on another night, I might not have been so bothered by it, but I still can’t recommend enough that you view Coco before your kids and decide if they are ready for it.