COCO (2017) – My rating: 8.5/10

Coco is a 3D computer-animated fantasy film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Coco is based on an original idea by Lee Unkrich, which he also co-directed with Adrian Molina.The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living. The concept for Coco is based on the Mexican holiday, ‘Day of the Dead’. The film was scripted by Molina and Matthew Aldrich.

The story opens in Santa Cecilia, Mexico. Imelda Rivera was the wife of a musician, who left her and their 3-year-old daughter Coco, to pursue a career in music. When he never returns, Imelda banishes music from her life and that of her family and opens a shoe-making family business.

Ninety-six years later, her great-great-grandson, 12-year-old Miguel, now lives with Coco and their family. He secretly dreams of becoming a musician like Ernesto de la Cruz, a popular actor and singer of Coco’s generation. One day, Miguel inadvertently damages the picture frame holding a photo of Coco with her parents at the center of the family ofrenda and removes the photograph, discovering that his great-great-grandfather (whose face had been torn out) was holding Ernesto’s famous guitar.

Coming to the conclusion that Ernesto is his great-great-grandfather, Miguel ignores his grandmother Elena’s objections and leaves to enter a talent show for the Day of the Dead. He enters Ernesto’s mausoleum and takes his guitar to use in the show, but becomes invisible to everyone in the village plaza. However, he can interact with his dog Dante and his dead relatives who are visiting from the Land of the Dead for the holiday. Taking him there, they realize that Imelda cannot visit, as Miguel removed her photo from the ofrenda. Discovering that he is cursed for stealing from the dead, Miguel must return to the Land of the Living before sunrise or he will become one of the dead; to do so, he must receive a blessing from a member of his family using an Aztec marigold petal that can undo the curse placed upon him when he stole Ernesto’s guitar. Imelda offers Miguel a blessing but on the condition that he abandon his musical pursuits when he returns to the Land of the Living; Miguel refuses and attempts to seek Ernesto’s blessing.

From this point, the movie is just getting started.  It is very interesting to see how Miguel resolves his many issues.  There are many new characters to meet and many twist and turns to this colorful movie.  It is brilliantly written and the music is breathtaking.  Children will love Coco, I know I did.  I consider it a “must see” for children and adults alike.  Kudos and congratulations to Pixar and Disney for such an entertaining movie — it will reel you in and keep you there still the very end.  This is one film you shouldn’t miss.  Check it out! Below is a list of the talented cast of voices that performed Coco.

  — SOME SPOILERS IN THE DESCRIPTIONS BELOW —

Anthony Gonzalez provides the voice of Miguel Rivera, a 12-year-old aspiring musician.
Gael García Bernal provides the voice of Héctor, a charming trickster in the Land of the Dead who enlists Miguel to help him visit the Land of the Living, and is later revealed to be Miguel’s great-great-grandfather, Imelda’s husband, Coco’s father and the patriarch of the Rivera family.
Benjamin Bratt provides the voice of Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous musician in the history of Mexico and Miguel’s idol. Revered by fans worldwide until his untimely death, the charming and charismatic musician is even more beloved in the Land of the Dead.
Antonio Sol provides Ernesto de la Cruz’s singing voice, except for “Remember Me”.
Alanna Ubach provides the voice of Mamá Imelda Rivera, Miguel’s late great-great-grandmother, Héctor’s wife, Coco’s mother and the matriarch of the Rivera family.
Renée Victor provides the voice of Elena Rivera, Miguel’s grandmother (“Abuelita”) who strictly enforces the ban on music that is the legacy of her grandmother.
Ana Ofelia Murguía provides the voice of Mamá Socorro “Coco” Rivera, Miguel’s great-grandmother and the daughter of Héctor and Imelda.
Edward James Olmos provides the voice of  Chicharrón, a friend of Héctor’s who is forgotten in the Land of the Dead.
Alfonso Arau provides the voice of Papá Julio Rivera, Miguel’s late great-grandfather and Coco’s husband.
Selene Luna provides the voice of Tía Rosita Rivera, Miguel’s late great-grandaunt, and Julio’s sister.
Dyana Ortellí provides the voice of Tía Victoria Rivera, Miguel’s late grandaunt, and Elena’s sister.
Herbert Sigüenza provides the voice of Tíos Oscar and Felipe Rivera, Miguel’s late identical twin great-great-granduncles.
Jaime Camil provides the voice of Papá Enrique Rivera, Miguel’s father and Elena’s son.
Sofía Espinosa provides the voice of Mamá Luisa Rivera, Miguel’s mother.
Luis Valdez provides the voice of Tío Berto Rivera, Miguel’s uncle, and is also the voice of Don Hidalgo.
Polo Rojas provides the voice of Abel Rivera, Miguel’s cousin.

[Coco is Oscar nominated for BEST: Original Song and Animated Feature Film]
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