“You don’t have to forgive him, but we shouldn’t forget him.” – Miguel, talking about his great, great grandfather, Hector
Pixar’s movies all have one theme in common. They all seem to revolve around the preservation of memories. “Coco,” the new Pixar film, is a loose variation on that theme. Set during Mexico’s annual Dia de los Muertos holiday, it illustrates in great detail how families celebrate and honor – and remember – their dead loved ones. And like the holiday, the film is not at all mournful, but joyous. It is the story of a 12-year-old boy who magically traverses between the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, which is not at all a gloomy place. It’s an enchanting city, glowing with vibrant color and garnished with chimerical creatures, or “spirit animals.” It’s no exaggeration to say it shows us things we’ve never seen before, something that happens so rarely in modern cinema.
Despite his family’s generations-old ban on music, young Miguel dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Héctor, the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. The story is filmed with vibrant colors, lovable characters, and surprisingly unexpected plot twists. I won’t elaborate on the plot twists to avoid any potential spoilers.
There wasn’t much in this film that was not likable. It was colorful, the music was phenomenal, the representation of another culture was well done, and Dante the dog was hilarious. The colors on the screen popped and lent a hand in showcase the Mexican Day of the Dead festivities which shows that family is everything, and that even when they are gone they are still around us.
What was disliked (or difficult to swallow) was the fact that Hector was murdered by his best friend, Ernesto because he was engulfed with the fame he was receiving from using the music his friend wrote. Ernesto was willing to take all the credit, fame, and the ability to be kept preserved in the Land of the Dead because he was known for Hector’s songs. It was frustrating because not only did he not give Hector any credit, he murdered him in cold blood and greed. The reason it was so aggravating was because the only person alive that somewhat remembered Hector was his daughter, Coco, who was rather old and nearing death. If she forgot who Hector was, his spirit would be gone forever.
Overall, the movie was fun to watch. It challenged me to think about a culture different from my own. It also hit me right in the feels when Miguel was singing “Remember Me” to his great grandmother to keep her from forgetting her father, Hector. The movie is out on DVD now — if you have not seen it, I highly suggest you seize the moment, and take in this wonderful Disney-Pixar movie.