THE PRECAP: After snagging the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Animated Feature, Pixar’s glorious COCO is now available on Blu-ray and digital download platforms. It’s an instant classic you’ll want to add to your home video collection.
Imelda Rivera lives in a small Mexican town with her young daughter Coco. After her husband abandons them to pursue a musical career, Imelda starts a shoe making business to make ends meet. She also bans music from her household, blaming it for destroying her marriage. Decades later, the family business is going strong and the music ban still stands. Coco, now well into her 90’s, is frail and sickly. She’s the matriarch of an extended family that includes Miguel, her precocious grandson. Miguel has no interest in making shows. Instead, he wants to follow in the footsteps of his idol, singer and actor Ernesto de la Cruz. What follows is one boy’s dogged pursuit of artistic freedom and an epic journey that takes Miguel from the streets of his village to the Land of the Dead
You’ve got to hand it to the creative team at Pixar. They’ve managed to take a dense and decidedly unconventional set-up and work wonders with it. In lesser hands, this could have devolved into a messy, convoluted tale of ghosts and guitars. Instead, Coco embraces and celebrates all of its quirks, complexities and cultural identity. It’s the rare animated feature from a major studio that refuses the confines of narrative convention. Here, the story unfolds at it’s own pace, buoyed by gifted writers and animators who work on a grand canvass that’s never too busy for nuance, emotion or thoughtful reflection. They resist every temptation to sell the audience short or cheapen the source material. This is Pixar, and big screen animation, at its best.
Coco is rated PG. It’s a true family film, offering plenty for both kids and adults to enjoy. With that said, this isn’t all colorful fluff. Coco traverses some weighty thematic ground in ways that are atypically frank for the genre. Life, death, love and loss are central story elements, this includes the surprise reveal of a villain who is also a cold-blooded murderer. It’s all expertly handled, but parents should be prepared for a question or two from younger and more sensitive viewers.
Coco is available now in a multi-format combo pack and on major digital download services.