I shouldn't have been surprised that Pixar's latest film almost made me cry. This is the studio that brought us the ten devastated minutes that is the 'Married Life' segment of Up. To add to this, Coco is from the director of Toy Story 3 which has the emotional rollercoaster ride that is the furnace scene. Still the emotional impact of Coco, a misleadingly simple film, sneaks up on you with the ending gaining an unexpected resonance.
Coco tells the story of Miguel, a young Mexican boy who comes from a long line of shoemakers. Through a charming opening, told using images on bunting, Miguel explains why music is banned in his family. Yet our hero dreams of becoming a musician. To do this he, and his comedy sidekick dog, must travel through the Land of the Dead to confront his family's past.
From the description,
No matter the quality of a Pixar film, you can bet the cast will be exemplary and thankfully free of stunt casting that has plagued other high profile animations. Anthony Gonzalez makes an endearing lead, while there is very good support from Renee Victor, Gael García Bernal and Alanna Ubach. The songs, central to the narrative, are great, with 'Remember Me' proving a particularly soulful number.
The one misstep is nothing to do with the film itself. Bizarrely the usual accompaniment to a Pixar film of an animated short is missing. The lack of this feels strange, especially as this is such a key route for the animation studio to allow talent to flourish. In the past the directors of Ratatouille, Brave and The Good Dinosaur all first directed shorts for Pixar, and this choice to not include one is strange.
We are now past the heyday of Pixar, with the animated giant often bogged down by sequels (does the world really need three Cars films?). But occasionally they produce a gem like