Dibujos animados de los Muertos
Disney/Pixar ambitiously attempt a kid-friendly take on the afterlife, giving us yet another colourful, unusual and extremely touching tale.After the superb Moana so exquisitely embraced Polynesian mythology, Pixar turn their sights on Mexican culture for the Dia de los Muertos-themed Coco, which sees a young boy, who is frustrated by his family's ban on anything musical, inadvertently transported to the Land of the Dead, where he encounters all of his long-lost relatives and must forge a path back the Land of the Living before sunrise, or he will be trapped there forever.Charming and colourful, Coco once again shows us Disney/Pixar's profound respect for character and genuine emotion, trading in Up-like sentiments of life - and death - which are, in much the same way, almost certain to not only pluck at your heartstrings but also leave you unable to resist shedding a tear come the end of the film. For all the gags, and wild, imaginative adventures, it's this aspect of the studio's output that remains the most impressive.
Although it is a shame that the Day of the Dead backdrop was so recently used in the also impressive animated movie The Book of Life, back in 2014, Coco does it the Disney/Pixar way, affording it much more consideration and weight, and arguably offering us far greater insight into this celebrated Mexican holiday. It's a nice and easy way to introduce younger audience members to a particularly tough subject matter - death - and whatever you believe about what happens after death, if anything at all, Coco finds a way to reframe it in a colourful, exciting fashion, worldbuilding a whole new universe that wouldn't look out of place in a sci-fi movie like Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, with its neon shantytown skyline.
For adults, Coco has - again, as you would only expect from Disney/Pixar - a whole extra level on which it operates, with its lovable riffs on the eccentricities of a large family (and, in particular, heavyweight matriarchs) and passport control-style crossing into the Land of the Dead, throwing in plenty of on-the-money references to immigration and customs bureaucracy, no doubt aimed mostly at the US/Mexico border. It's still amazing how imaginative the studio are when it comes to subtleties like this, as the references would go completely over the head of likely most younger audience members, and yet they would remain just as engaged by the ostensible point of the scenes - which is to show how hard it is for some characters to get back to see their families - whilst adults get that and the added layer. Genius.
Coco once again shows us Disney/Pixar's profound respect for genuine emotion
The songs are also an important aspect of the feature and whilst none are as memorable as the classics in some of the Disney or Pixar's earlier output - not even 2016's Moana - they are impressively staged and cleverly integrated into the heart and soul of the film. And, of course, this is yet another emotionally powerful Disney/Pixar narrative, drawing you in with belly laughs and clever references, but really getting under your skin when it comes to the more emotional moments, as life and death and the memory of our loved ones hangs in the balance. As with Up, Coco really shows an adeptness at dealing with these eminently adult issues, to the point where, as with Up, it'll likely be the adult audience members who need comforting from their own children when the floodgates open. And open they will. Fans may be clamoring for another Toy Story or another Incredibles movie - both of which are on the roster as the studio's next two films - but Disney/Pixar's original output remains often its most rewarding; each a unique, distinctively flavoured experience which you simply won't be prepared for, beyond the fact that you can rely on them to always produce something special.
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