Story by Nicholas Lester / Contributing Writer
When I first saw the trailer for Disney/Pixar’s “Coco” back in April, I felt uninspired. “It just looks like a ripoff of ‘The Book of Life,’” I told myself.
Note to self — never bet against Pixar ever again.
This movie is the best Pixar film since their 2015 hit “Inside Out,” even if you might not have guessed it from the trailers. While it’s not exactly perfect, the film’s flaws get lost in the midst of everything it does so well.
As usual, the animation is incredible — at this point with Pixar, if the animation was anything less than near-perfection, we’d call them out on it. There’s a scene toward the beginning where Miguel, the main protagonist, looks in awe at a city that he just entered, and it’s those shots that other animation studios should aspire to work toward.
The acting is solid as well. If you don’t currently know any of the names of the cast members, you probably will within a year or two because they’ve definitely left their mark on the film industry in “Coco.”
I also have to praise this movie for its marketing. It’s sold as one movie but presented as something totally different, and that’s pretty hard to do. If you haven’t seen it and you think you know how it ends, stop thinking because you’re wrong. “Coco” has one of the most unpredictable endings that I’ve ever seen, which makes it even more worth while.
However, what this movie excels at the most is something that isn’t anything new for Pixar: tugging on your heartstrings. When the movie ended, I don’t think that there was a single dry eye in the theater, including my own, and I pretty much never cry in movies.
But, as is the case with every movie, “Coco” has its flaws. While there is some originality to it, it does follow a lot of common tropes we’ve seen before, including but not limited to the “comic relief sidekick” trope, the “dumb animal sidekick” trope and the “main character wants to follow his heart instead of do what his family wants him to do” trope, which makes some of the movie somewhat predictable. And while it isn’t a total ripoff, it does borrow plot elements from “The Book of Life” that are hard to ignore.
As I stated earlier, “Coco” has an incredibly emotional ending, but where it succeeds in emotion it somewhat lacks in humor. Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely some humor in this movie, but not nearly as much as, say, “Inside Out.” You’re much more likely to cry during this movie than laugh.
I also thought that it was kind of convenient that the main characters, who are from Mexico, only spoke Spanish words that an English-speaking audience could understand. Additionally, the film’s rules in The Land of the Dead were kind of unclear, which prompted my curiosity mid-movie.
However, there aren’t many Pixar movies that I’d rank above “Coco,” so I’d definitely recommend seeing this one in theaters if you can.
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