Review: Coco Beautifully Captures Mexican Tradition and Culture


Mackenna Yount, Junior Reporter

The Disney Pixar movie, “Coco”, hit theaters in November of 2017, and it was an instant hit. Directed by longtime Pixar director, Lee Unkrich, movie lovers of all types will instantly adore this movie. At the 90th Academy Awards, Coco was nominated for and won Best Animated Feature Film and Best Original Song for “Remember Me”.

“Coco” is about a boy named Miguel– played by Anthony Gonzalez. Miguel wants to become a musician like his idol: Ernesto de la Cruz. However, his great-great-grandmother banned music when her husband abandoned her to pursue a career as a musician, and Miguel’s family upholds that tradition. Miguel wants to enter a talent show for Dia De Los Muertos– a Mexican holiday– so he breaks into de la Cruz’s tomb to borrow his guitar. When Miguel picks up the guitar, he is transported into the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors, and sees the vibrant, charismatic buildings that decorate the narrow streets. He goes on a quest to find his family and to change the family rule that does not allow for any music of any kind.

The movie begins with the main character, Miguel, narrating his family’s history with the help of changing images on papel picado: the paper flags that hang in the streets of Mexico for Dia De Los Muertos. Immediately, watchers are immersed in Mexican culture and tradition, gaining insight on the family history of the main character and learning about a typical Mexican family.

Unkrich made sure that there is never a part of the movie that is boring. The plot flows in way that keeps you on your toes, wondering what will happen next. The characters created have many dimensions and teaches the audience about Mexican culture. Relationships between characters are beautifully built and tug at the heart-strings.

Coco’s graphics are amazing. Each character and setting has specific details that stand out, like Dante’s uncontrollable tongue. Vibrant colors pop and the intricate detailing of buildings and decorations draw the eye to is visual attractiveness.

The soundtrack to “Coco” is equally as beautiful as the graphics. Smooth vocals, emotional guitar, and fun beats make the music appealing for all ages. The song “Remember Me” adds even more depth to the plot and greatly enhances the characters of Mamá Coco and Hector, played by Ana Ofelia Murguía and Gael García Bernal, by creating a backstory that connects all the dots from throughout the movie and concludes in a heartwarming ending.

On the DVD, there are 2 bonus videos about the inspiration for Coco: one about Dia De Los Muertos and how the animators and creators drew inspiration from their own families to create Miguel’s family, and another about the making of the dog Dante and where inspiration came for his surprisingly intricate character. These short videos also help watchers fully appreciate the movie.

No matter your age, culture, beliefs, or family, all watchers will find some way to relate to Miguel’s adventure and will greatly enjoy the unique story Unkrich tells. All aspects of “Coco” are appealing, from the graphics to the music, the plot to the characters. Watching it, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant cultural masterpiece that is “Coco”.