This is an immensely clever and heartwarming adventure and is certainly one of the best Pixar films to be released in years.
What a wonderful, clever and vibrant film this is. I missed out on seeing this in the cinema when it was released and has taken all this time for me to finally see it – something that I now regret.
Set in Mexico and around the Day of the Dead, Miguel is desperate to become a musician – but his family forbid it because of previous heartbreak in the family. Due to his determination and attempt to steal something from his hero Ernesto de la Cruz, he ends up in the Land of the Dead on an adventure he never expected.
Directed by Lee Unkrick (who also came up with the original story) and co-directed by Adrian Molina, what makes this film so striking and original is the way in which it handles big topics such as death, grief and family in a way that is so poignant and comforting. Moments such as when Miguel finally realises just how important family is and not to be forgotten by them – highlighted by Hector’s plight towards the end of the film – really hit the heart but it never comes across as preachy. Instead, it treats the young audience that its aimed at with maturity.
It is filled with complex relationships, that makes for rich characterisations as the audience gets to know them. In particular, the way in which Coco is so protected by her daughter and the whole family rally round to prevent music being played shows the strength of the family unit created. You can really see why the characters feel the way they do from all perspectives.
As well as the way in which the story comes across – this also one of the most dazzling visually films that Pixar have created. The carnival vibe of the Day of the Dead, makes for a lovely contrast to the dark and equally rich colours of the Land of the Dead and the way in which the skeletons of the Land of the Dead have been designed so memorably takes the film to a whole other level.
The whole film is able to take big topics such as death, pain and grief and transform it into something that is relatable and honest. It has plenty of sincerity and honesty that comes through consistently – but still with plenty of humour that keeps it immensely likeable.
Overall, it is a wonderfully clever film that stays in the mind long after you finish watching it.
By Emma Clarendon