Film Review: Coco

If I had to draw Pixar as a concept, I would draw a small mechanical crab-like creature, designed specifically to attach itself to your heartstrings and tug determinedly until they had forced the tears from your reluctant, dry eyes. They’ve done family, childhood, old age and… cars. With Coco, they’ve fully bit the bullet and are straight up demanding we cry over our dead.

Coco centres on a Mexican boy named Miguel, who loves music. Unfortunately, his family hate music with such a fiery passion it locks your suspension of disbelief in a hessian sack and beats it with sticks. Through a bit of drama and a splash of hijinx, Miguel finds himself in the land of the dead. He has the night of la dia le Los Muertos to get home. And from here we have a movie.

I’m reluctant to give away any more of the plot seeing as Coco sort of spoils itself as it goes. The story takes a few twists but these are made easily predictable about 15 minutes before each one happens. If you’ve ever seen a movie before you’re well aware of the facts way ahead of the big reveals.

The second half of this film is definitely stronger than the first. The first half is bogged down with extensive narration and exposition. There’s a lot of stuff to set up and it would have been nice if it had been carried out in a more imaginative way than just having Miguel spoon feed it to us. Bits of the ticking clock element that drives the plot doesn’t make sense (as well as being copied and pasted from the script of Inside out). That said, once it gets going, Coco is an enjoyable enough time. The effervescent animation is akin to wizardry and all vocal performers do an admirable job.

The big emotional beats are suitably heartfelt but they never really managed to crack me like Inside out did in 2015. Overall, Coco is a gorgeously animated, lovingly soundtracked romp through culture. I’d say give it your time. I mean, not every studio would have taken the effort to animate realistic bingo wings physics onto the granny.