Time and time again Pixar has repeatedly proven to be a master of emotional storytelling and has made a name for themselves tell new and unique stories. So So I was both surprised and highly disappointed when Coco turned out to be a cliche, predictable albeit beautifully animated movie.
Coco follows Miguel, a young boy who wants nothing more in life than to become a musician. Unfortunately for him his family has banned all music in their house due to an event that took place decades before he was born. After a small series of misadventures Miguel finds himself stuck in the land of the dead and has until sunrise to escape. I won’t say too much more than that to avoid spoilers but that is the basic setup of the movie.
I’m going to keep the acting portion brief this time but only because all of the performances here are all good, especially from acting new comer Anthony Gonzalez who play Miguel.
Before we get into what went wrong with this movie let’s start with the good. The animation here is some of the best Pixar has ever done. Everything from the highly detailed environments of the land of the dead, to the character models is absolutely gorgeous. Seriously it’s worth a watch for the sheer detail and care that went into crafting the animation. And again all the performances are solid and leave little that they could have done better there. And at least all the characters feel fleshed out and have at least a small place in the narrative. Another thing that this movie absolutely nails is the songs. The songs are all incredibly well written and memorable with a few that will leave some humming long after they’ve left the theater.
Now this is where I have to cover the bad which unfortunately there is a bit of this time. The first and biggest issue plaguing the movie is how utterly predictable it is. Seriously you know a movie has issues when you can piece together all of the major twists and emotional moments not even a half hour into the movie. And the sad part is that it’s the type of predictable that you know without a shadow of a doubt that you guessed it. It’s just very frustrating from the studio that gave us movies like Up and Wall.E which were both undeniably original and very hard to predict. The other big issue I had is that all the big emotional moments (aside from the one at the very end which I’ll admit got me a bit emotional) were as cliche and sappy as they could get. And it doesn’t help that you could see them a mile off. Also just a quick side note, the movie stole it’s art style ENTIRELY from the 1998 classic Lucas Arts game, Grim Fandango. It honestly surprises me that no one is talking about this. If you compare the two side by side the inspirations are clear as day.
Coco is a very mixed bag of a movie. On one hand you have a gorgeously animated movie with memorable songs and decent voice work. On the other You have a cliched predictable mess of a story that has you sighing in frustration when it goes exactly where you think it will. Despite this though, I believe Coco is a good movie, just one with a few major flaws that will leave some frustrated at what could have been.
I rate Coco a B- or 7.9