In Brief: Pixar/Disney’s latest is the latest in a long line of great animated features.
Coco is a beautiful movie in two ways. First, it is visual feast. Hundreds of colors pulse and move across the screen in a melody that seems like only light itself can understand. The colors blend together in a jangle of hues that almost seem to be outside of the spectrum a human ought to be able to see.
When you see the movie all of that will make sense. It also makes sense when you consider much of the film takes place in the Land of the Dead.
The second part of the beauty of Coco is the story. Miguel’s family makes shoes. An incident a few generations back got music banned from the family. Miguel loves music. He loves the guitar and admires Ernesto de la Cruz, Mexico’s most famous guitarist, singer, songwriter and actor.
Cruz died years ago but Miguel learns to play the guitar by watching his old movies. Banned from playing music by his family, Miguel rebels and on the Day of the Dead where families pray for those who’ve passed, Miguel accidentally crosses over. While there he seeks the one person in infinity who can get the ban removed.
Coco is co-directed by Lee Unkrich who co-directed Monsters, Inc. Toy Story 2 and Finding Nemo and was the solo director of Toy Story 3. He’s a wonderful storyteller whose skill with animation and effects is superb.
Coco is an animated movie and animated movies follow formula. You get characters, humor, a touch of drama and a moral lesson. The moral lesson here is who — among us — hasn’t at one time or another been told that a dream we hold dear will never come true. We persevere and — presto — a miracle happens. That is the wonderful moral and the teaching moment in this film that might inspire the youngest among us to reach for their own stars.
Miracles do happen and while not a miracle, or completely original in terms of plot, Coco is a wonderful way to kick off your holiday movie going season.
Directors: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Stars: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, John Ratzenberger
Coco cooks along at a nice pace with creative critters and characters. Fun family film for the holiday. Give it a 5 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
Got a movie suggestion or comment? Click here to email him.