“Transport me to the Land of the Dead!” Photo: Disney-Pixar

Disney-Pixar’s newest movie Coco tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy who yearns to become an accomplished musician despite the generations-old ban on music in his family.

Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel’s attempt to steal a guitar sends him to the Land of the Dead where he meets a charming trickster named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal). Together, they embark on an extraordinary journey to uncover the real hidden story of his family’s history.

Colourful, funny, heartwarming and with incredibly catchy songs, this is definitely my favourite Disney-Pixar animation yet. The story is easy to follow and never fails to deliver the emotional punch when needed, with those emotionally-charged scenes making me ugly-cry so much.

While Coco does share some similarities in setting (Día de Muertos – Day of the Dead) with Fox’s The Book of Life (2014), there are still differing qualities in both films. The Book of Life is centred on the bet between the rulers of the Land of the Remembered and the Land of the Forgotten with a couple’s love as the determining factor, while Coco is primarily about family.

“Welcome to our version of Disney World!” PHOTO: Disney-Pixar

Happily, unlike in Book of Life, the voice cast of Coco is also made up entirely of voice actors of Hispanic descent like Bernal, whose Hector is full of heart and personality. This has previously been a point of contention in other animated features such as Kubo and the Two Strings, where Asian characters were voiced by Caucasians.

The difference in the quality of animation in both films is evident as well. Disney-Pixar proves again why they are the best in animation. Mama Coco, Miguel’s great-grandmother, is particularly impressive, from the wrinkles on her face to the vacant expression she bears.

The re-imagination of Frida Kahlo in the afterlife is also a treat as it pays homage to the iconic artist, her works, and the people of Mexico who love her. Doing what they do best, Disney-Pixar imagines the Land of the Dead like an alternative of our world, giving it that Disney magic which could easily be replicated in their theme parks.

“So.. Just wanted to ask if you’ve met our relative who is very much alive?” Credit: Disney Pixar

The accompanying music for Coco is also impressive. Each instrumental score has an element of Mexican music which creates a unique balance of sound, harmony and rhythm.

The duo who wrote the Oscar-winning ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen also penned the catchy and heart-warming song ‘Remember Me’ for Coco, which poetically captures the essence of the entire film.

Coco opens in  Singapore today. Tell us what you think of the movie!

  • Bruno Escarcega

    Great review. Just one point to clarify: we don’t love Frida Kahlo in México