“Coco” proves best Disney-Pixar film so far

By Sofia Williamson, Online Editor-in-Chief

Given the plethora of amazing cartoonists, songwriters, and cast writers that Disney and Pixar have had together in the past, it’s hard to walk out of any of their movies without questioning if it was the best animated movie you’ve ever seen. Not only is “Coco” the best animated movie Disney-Pixar has ever released, It is possibly the best animated movie of all time.

Disney-Pixar has done it again, and better than ever before. Their newest animated film, “Coco”, aired in the U.S. Nov. 22 after first airing on in Mexico on Oct. 27.

Based on the Mexican holiday Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, “Coco”‘s story centers on a twelve-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera, played by Anthony Gonzales, who also happens to be twelve years old. Miguel dreams of becoming a famous musician like his long-deceased idol Ernesto de la Cruz.

However, Miguel’s Great-Great-Grandfather left his wife and daughter, Coco, to play music, and from this point on, the family has a long-standing hate for anything musical. When Miguel finds a picture on his family’s Day of the Dead altar with his Great-Great Grandfather holding De La Cruz’s famous guitar, however, he concludes that he is his ancestor and finds himself traveling to the Land of the Dead to find him. With the help of his other ancestors and a raggedy skeleton named Hector, who claims to have played with De La Cruz, he embarks on a mission to find out the truth about his ancestry.

Consisting of an all-Latino cast of lesser-known actors, Coco got it right in not only allowing hidden stars to rise to the stage, but giving the movie a cultural genuineness that could only come from those who grew up in Hispanic families themselves.

The script itself also included various spanish words that were strategically placed so not to confuse non-spanish speakers, but still allowed those who spoke the language to identify with the characters. This created a perfect connection among the audience that allowed for cultural connection for those who are Hispanic but also allowed a special appreciation for those who are not.

The sole releasing of “Coco” to Mexican audiences a month before also showed a crucial appreciation for the Mexican culture. This allowed the movie to receive criticism from those who observed Day of the Dead so Disney-Pixar could assure that they got it right before they released it to international audiences. This was not only extremely considerate on their part, but it showed that they value the accuracy of a movie like “Coco,” and its ability to move audiences without flaw, more than the money-making aspect.

The storyline itself is also very well thought-out and surprisingly complex for an animated movie. As Miguel uncovers more secrets about his family’s history, a very surprising plot-twist is uncovered and many difficult topics are touched upon that would be difficult to understand, like the splitting of families, spousal betrayal and even alcohol.

Though it may be difficult for young children to understand, they would still be able to comprehend its underlying messages: that family always comes first, that many times those who appear to be successful may have taken advantage of others to get there and that if people truly love you they will always support your ambitions without conditions. Adults will be able to relate to these topics by reflecting on past experiences in their lives, and children will be able to learn their lessons without truly living through them themselves. If that doesn’t show us the magic of Disney and their scriptwriters, nothing else can.

The music, in addition, created a beautiful blend between the English and Spanish languages so Americans would understand the songs while including orchestrations reflected Mexican musical traditions. The tunes were catchy and heartfelt, and the main song of the film, Remember Me, appeared at the start of the film but took on a whole new meaning by the end, bringing the entire audience to tears.

It was also evident throughout the film that its animators took on challenges never before approached in the world of animation. At the start of the film, these animators and producers even speak briefly on the thousands of separate scenes that were combined into one to create the land of dead. The scenes of this world are truly breathtaking, to Miguel himself and to the audience watching them.

However, this announcement on behalf of animators at the start of the film could have been excluded, due to the fact that it had a negative effect in breaking the third curtain for audience members. Regardless, we must applaud their expertise in creating such colorful and spectacular scenes that brought the Land of the Dead to life.

Despite all of the positive acclamation the movie has received overall, various moviegoers could not help but comment on the lack of warning of the movie’s precursor in theaters. Disney chose to make a 30-minute sequel to Frozen and place it at the start of “Coco,” and even as a Frozen fan myself it was frustrating going to the theater believing I was sitting for one movie and experiencing another before it began.

While the sequel was engaging and pretty exciting for fans of Frozen, it would have not been difficult for Disney to include a warning of its presentation before buying a ticket so audience members knew what to expect.

Overall, it is easy affirm that “Coco” was hands-down the best animated movie, if not the best movie in general, that audience members have seen from Disney-Pixar so far. If you have some free time on an afternoon in the near future, any alumni of Coco’s theater would tell you to get up off your couch and pay for a ticket to “Coco.” We promise you won’t regret it.