After the success of Disney’s Moana, which embraced Ancient Polynesian culture in every aspect, it was no surprise to see a repeat of this culturally-driven Pixar plot.
With many believing all the fairy tales have been overdone or are unsurprisingly predictable, this new direction of representation is a move I must admit I’m fond of. Children and adults alike can learn about cultures, traditions and festivities that they’d perhaps not otherwise experience, whilst still inevitably getting their feel-good fix and leaving the cinema with a big smile on their faces from the fantasy film. But, enough about Disney Pixar’s latest directions…. Onto Coco!
During this review, I’m going to be purposely vague for one clear reason: I want you to go see it yourself. So, if you want all the spoilers, you may as well stop reading now.
Even if you’re not into happily ever afters, it’s a theatrical feel-good movie that the whole family can enjoy - literally. As you’d expect, the viewing was full of children, but I took my boyfriend Ben (27), two brothers (mid-twenties) and parents (we will be kind and leave it as “50ish”) with me. After struggling to find our way around Baron’s Quay, the new Northwich complex, we relaxed into our plush Odeon seats with a sigh of relief just as the opening credits were screening - perfect. Whilst hurriedly thrusting handfuls of popcorn into my mouth, I realised that I didn’t quite know what to expect; in fact, I hadn’t watched the trailer since I’d caught the taster early-2017.
The movie quickly settled in and we began to follow the story of the endearing main character, Miguel Riviera, and his traditional Mexican family straight away as they prepared for Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead.) Young Miguel soon found himself battling against his family who have banned music and, as Disney always does, he puts himself in a bit of a sticky situation. Stuck on the ‘other side’ with the dead, Miguel is forced to hunt down his departed relatives and gain their blessing to return to his family before sunrise. As his quest is continually disrupted by his love for his idol, Miguel also finds himself in search of his estranged grandfather.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t embrace this whole, emotional journey whole-heartedly. Willing Miguel on to follow his dreams, I found myself in awe of the incredible colour, music and respect shown for the Mexican culture throughout. To me, it is no surprise that Coco has since earned numerous accolades, including multiple wins at the Critics’ Choice Awards, and received BAFTA and Golden Globe nominations for Best Animated Feature Film. I’d even go as far as to say I’d rate it in my Top 10 Disney Films ever (a bold statement). I’m a huge Disney advocate and I thoroughly enjoyed Coco, as I expected. After controversially not being the biggest Frozen fan, despite really wanting to like it because it didn’t follow the traditional boy-saves-girl storyline, I was rooting to have two wins in a row for Disney (after Moana’s success) with their new take on cultural story-telling…. And they did.
It’s fair to say I left the theatre emotionally moved, culturally enlightened and just damn delighted at the animated spectacle I had witnessed (…and perhaps a little too stuffed full of popcorn too). My parents and brothers were equally impressed with the vocal performances, colour and realistic animation that has come so far from the days of 1950’s Cinderella. As for Ben, he wasn’t quite so thrilled (“5 out of 10”), so I will probably have to go watch some film I’m not buzzing to see in the near future with him to make it up to him; regardless - totally worth it.
So, a big round of applause is overdue for the entirely Latino cast for creating a future classic. It will definitely be on my shopping list when it’s released on DVD for my cousin’s birthday. That way I can watch it with him every time we go to Cambridge and Ben can’t complain (muahaha).
As for what next, who knows? I’d love to see more culturally-themed movies that make learning so accessible and engaging for children. In a world of Trump and Brexit teaching the next generation to shut off from diversity, I’m all for this. So, keep’em coming Disney- I’ll be eagerly awaiting your next move.
Disney Dani x