COCO – A most delightful animated Disney-Pixar feature, following the musical fantasy genre, which highlights the Spanish custom, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and 12-year old Miguel’s (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) adventures as he dreams and hopes to fulfill his secret musical ambition of becoming famous, just like his supposedly great-great grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt).
Residing in a colourful, lively and engaging Mexican village among a family of shoemakers, Miguel quickly discovers why the Riveras – his family, led by his impassioned grandmother, have banned music. The family believes they have been cursed because the great-great grandfather abandoned his wife Imelda (voice of Alanna Ubach) and daughter Coco, decades earlier, to follow his own dreams of musical ambition. Imelda, as a result declared the topic of music dead to the family – forever.
As Miguel’s secret, musical passion burns, the plot continues with his mission to follow in the footsteps of his supposedly famous great-great grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz by borrowing his guitar. Dante – man’s best amigo (a true Xoloitzcuintli or Xolo, which represents a ragtag combination of 18 different dog breeds), follows Miguel on his quest. Once Miguel takes the guitar, he is immediately transported to the Land of the Dead, where he endeavors to find Ernesto de la Cruz. Once in the Land of the Dead, Miguel discovers a beautiful underworld and encounters generations of the beloved souls of his family including his great-great grandmother Imelda.
Now in the Land of the Dead, Miguel, who does not have much time, must return to the Land of the Living before dawn, or he will remain in the Land of the Dead forever. He finds great challenge receiving a Blessing by his dead family members who refuse to Bless, unless Miguel swears to let go of his great dreams. He then proceeds, after meeting the trickster, Hector (voice of Gael Garcia Bernal) to find his supposedly great-great grandfather to receive the Blessing and prove his talent in the hopes of becoming a famous musician. A chain of adventures unfolds as Miguel and Hector uncover the truth about Ernesto de la Cruz and Hector, leading to the Rivera family’s emotional transformation and evolution around Miguel and his love of music.
The animation is realistic and visually rich in texture, fluidity and colour. The movie Disney-Pixar COCO, through the use of endearing characters and soulful music, brought me to tears many times and left me awestruck by the interesting Spanish custom of Dia de los Muertos – Day of the Dead.
Do you have any interesting customs handed down through generations of your family?
Thank you to our contributor Jackie for this great post on Coco. I hope to see it this weekend with my own family. Being Disney fans ourselves, I am sure we will love it!
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**Disclosure: Tickets to see Coco were provided by Walt Disney Studios Canada. All opinions are the author’s.