Terça-feira, 23/1/2018 | : : UTC-5
The Reflection

Disney Pixar’s CoCo proves a light-hearted cinematic masterpiece

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Disney Pixar’s newest film, Coco, which opened this past Thanksgiving, tells a touching story that embraces the power of music and the importance of family. Despite the film’s somewhat predictable plot, Coco is an artistic triumph, proving Disney’s versatility to portray new cultures and themes, paired with a captivating score and skillful animation.

Coco follows its main character, Miguel, on his journey to become a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz, despite his family’s generation-old ban on music. Desperate to escape the trappings of his family’s shoe-making legacy, Miguel enters a Day of the Dead talent show. Before he gets to perform, however, Miguel finds himself transported to the vibrant Land of the Dead, where he meets his deceased ancestors and new friends. After a night of adventure, Miguel is pressed to choose between his family and his dreams.

Pixar’s new film, CoCo , follows main character Miguel on his journey to the Land of the Dead. Throughout the movie, Miguel is forced to choose between obeying his family and pursuing his music. Photo courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.

As an avid Disney-movie watcher, I’ve noticed a distinct pattern in the plot “twists” Disney writers tend to include in their scripts, especially in movies released in the past decade.

For example, in Disney Pixar’s Up, Carl reveres wilderness explorer Charles Muntz for his entire life, only to find out he’s a bitter outcast, driven insane by his desire to prove his discoveries. Similarly, in Disney’s Frozen, Anna spends the film placing her hopes in Hans, who she falls in love with in typical Disney fashion. At the end of the movie, however, Anna comes to find that Hans is selfish and power hungry, engaged in a scheme to claim the throne of Arendelle. In Big Hero 6, seemingly innocent robotics professor Robert Callaghan, turns out to be the infamous Kabuki masked man, armed with micro-robots and all.

This being said, I didn’t find the plot twists in Coco very difficult to predict. Heroes are revealed as villains, villains are made into heroes, in typical Disney fashion.

Despite the repetition of stale story elements in Coco, the film provides a tender narrative that touches perfectly on the importance of family and the magic of music. Coco breaks hearts and puts them back together again, leaving viewers with a complete picture of love, loss, and remembrance.

Coco breaks hearts and puts them back together again, leaving viewers with a complete picture of love, loss, and remembrance.

Thirteen year old breakout voice actor Anthony Gonzalez exceeds expectations in his innocent and energetic debut portrayal of Miguel. His character is authentic and full of energy. Viewers identify with Miguel’s struggle between his dreams and his obligations to his family. Gael García Bernal excels in portraying Hector, a character who is both entertaining and complex. Bernal brings to life a character who audiences see transform from a charming trickster, to a caring friend. Benjamin Bratt, who provided the voice for superstar Ernesto De la Cruz, was casted perfectly in the role as well, his musical talent and clear tone proving ideal for playing a singer.

A unique concept and brilliant voice acting, paired with a catchy score and intricate animation, allowed CoCo to dominate at the box office, and rightly so. Contrary to popular belief, songs aren’t just for Disney princess movies, and Pixar’s CoCo proves it–the recurring tune “Remember me,” a song which in itself turns out to be one of the pivotal plot points of the movie, makes audience members want to both jump out of their seats and dance the Jarabe (Mexico’s national dance) and hold family members close. Because Pixar films improve visually by a landslide with each movie that’s released, my expectation for Coco’s animation was set miles high. The motion picture’s artistry fails to disappoint–CoCo is visually stunning and vibrant, its animators’ creativity rivaled by few.

CoCo is nothing short of a masterpiece.  It brings Disney out of its old, culturally bland habits and into a new age of representing all types of people, in itself making new traditions for the company. CoCo is rich and real, providing viewers with a story they can be both entertained by and empathize with. In an industry where dark, intense films often dominate, CoCo tells a refreshing tale, perfect for all ages and backgrounds.


Annie Thorn
About

This is my first year on staff at the Reflection. I enjoy running track and cross country. I also spend a lot of time volunteering at Gracespring and the Richland Community Library. After I graduate this year, I hope to go to college and pursue a career in public history.

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