PIXAR movies have a formula that expertly combines an adorable hero/heroine with a story that tugs at the heartstrings. There is always a moment or two where you have to reach for tissue or surreptitiously dash a few tears away with your sleeve. With writers and directors from Finding Nemo, the Good Dinosaur, Toy Story 3 and Monsters University, Coco is no exception.
Coco is the colorful tale of a young boy named Miguel who dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, the late Ernesto de la Cruz, despite his family’s ban on music that has spanned multiple generations
When an opportunity arises for him to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in desperate need of a guitar. So desperate, that the plan he devises ends up taking him to the colorful Land of the Dead.
In the Land of the Dead, Miguel teams up with Hector, a trickster voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal, who promises to help him meet the great Ernesto de la Cruz, voiced by Benjamin Bratt, and get back to the Land of the Living.
Anthony Gonzalez infuses Miguel with charm and earnest determination which, of course, you can’t help but root for. Bratt brings a perfect blend of suave and smarm to Ernesto while Bernal brings a good dose of mischief to warm-hearted Hector.
Rich with cultural lessons, stunning animation and beautiful music, Coco is simply a delight. I learned a lot about Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, which is very similar to my own culture’s observance of All Souls Day and All Saints Day in the Philippines.
Coco’s winsome depiction of what honoring our departed loved ones means is incredibly heartwarming, and honestly if the Land of the Dead is truly how PIXAR imagines it, I hope they are right.
Much like Moana, so much of the family in Coco reminded me of my own that I left the theater emotionally compromised at the end. You will, too, especially if you’re easily touched by sweet songs and tender moments between parents and their children. Coco is a moving lesson about the love of family and believing in yourself and how one can strengthen the other in turns.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Second Review by Tracey Barrientos

I remember when I would wonder why Disney/Pixar had not made a Hispanic film. Finally when I thought they would never create a film of hispanic culture, I heard about Coco and I I could hardly contain my excitement. Though I am not of Mexican decent I was still proud that finally a culture similar to mine was being represented. It was definitely worth the wait!

The film is about a young boy Miguel whom lives in the small town of Santa Cesilia in Mexico. His dream is to one day be a great musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. He is determined to be as good as his idol one day however, his family has absolutely forbidden music. While trying to convince his family that music is what he wants and needs to do he ends up landing himself in the Land of The Dead. There he meets a drifter named Hector and with each others help they will discover the meaning of family and how important it is to keep the memories alive.

Just like on the guitar that Miguel plays, this heartfelt story will surely tug at your heartstrings. As in every Disney/Pixar film, the environments and scenery that are created to envelope audiences in vibrant colors and amazing attention to detail are outstanding. The 3D aspect was great but as per usual by no means a necessity to immerse yourself in the beautiful culture of the Mexican scenery. I was blown away by how the animators were able to make certain colors especially, on the spirit animals, look as though they were glowing like neon lights.

Recently I had the pleasure of speaking to Harley Jessup the production designer for the film. He had expressed that one of the most challenging issues that arose was how to make the Land of the Dead not appear too scary for the kids. They knocked it out of the park and were able to make them appear less scary so that kids could enjoy without being scared. By rounding the edges and using different shading techniques on the skeletons they seemed to be able to accomplish that. I can 100% recommend that this film is a must see for young and old and anywhere in between. Both for the story and the amazing visuals and effects.

5 out of 5!