Written by: Ramsee Chand
Coco, Pixar’s latest film, is a hauntingly beautiful story with artwork that matches. The first time that I saw Coco was at a special screening for the Hispanic Scholarship Fund at Disney Animation Studios. Miguel is a Mexican boy who aspires to be a musician; his only obstacle is that he lives in a family that has banned all music in the house because of a great-great-grandfather guitarist who abandoned the family to pursue his own music career. Now, in a family famous for their shoe-making abilities, Miguel practices his music in secret so that he could one day be as great as Ernesto de la Cruz, the most famous Mexican musician of all time. On the Day of the Dead, a fateful turn of events causes Miguel to go to the Land of the Dead where he has the night to gain the blessing of his family or never return to the Land of the Living.
There was not a dry eye in the theater; it was such a pleasure to see some representation of the Latino narrative and culture on the screen. At first, I was afraid of a non-Latino director making a film about the Day of the Dead, but he did his research and did our identity justice. The colorful art was striking, with every frame a painting (excuse the cliche, but it’s true!), and the story just as beautiful. The performances matched the caliber of the story, never missing a beat and always executing with gusto. Each action is believable, and the charm of a kid trying to follow his dreams while keeping his family happy is the struggle of anyone who has immigrant parents. This movie could not have been released at a better time.
The film premiered in Mexico during this past Dia de los Muertos, and in the first three weeks became the number one movie in Mexico of all time. If that doesn’t say something about how spectacular this film is, I don’t know what does. The film has been screening around the United States in both Spanish and English, and while there are some Spanish lines in the English version you don’t have to know a word of Spanish to understand the sentiments that the words mean. That’s what film should be- a powerful, visceral, visual medium that can tell a story without the barriers of a language. This film was made with the intention to take your whole family to see, so round up your abuelas and abuelos (along with all the tias and primos) and take them to a theater right now. The film is being played with both dubbed in Spanish and with subtitles, but Pixar has made an app so that you can take everyone to one screening and listen to the other language’s audio while watching the film. This him is not just for people of Latin decent, but for everyone to enjoy and learn from. This one's for la gente, y es una pelicula bellisima. Buena honda, Pixar, esto fue un éxito.