Coco: Pixar's Finest Achievement Since Toy Story 3

Updated on December 6, 2017
Rami Nawfal profile image

Rami has a BA in psychology from the American University of Beirut and an MS in addiction counseling from Grand Canyon University.

Dios Mío, who in God’s name was chopping onions in my theater? If an animated film made you ever so slightly indignant that no tissues were offered to moviegoers at the door prior to showtime, then the film must’ve done something right. By “something right” I do not speak of labored emotional manipulation of young audiences, I speak of virtuoso, thematically potent storytelling that treats cinema fans with copious quantities of respect. Coco is quite possibly Pixar’s greatest triumph since Toy Story 3 and you’d all be doing yourselves a grave disservice by not taking some time out of your day to witness this delightful piece of work.

Despite a family ban on music, 12-year-old Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez) has an unbridled passion for it and idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), a widely venerated deceased musician. The ban stems from his great-great abuela Imelda (Alanna Ubach) who was abandoned by her musician husband and left to raise her daughter by her lonesome. Determined to prove his prowess in a local talent show on Dia de los Muertos, Miguel steals de la Cruz’s guitar and ends up being flung into the Land of the Dead where he meets his ancestors and an amiable swindler named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal). With only till dawn to leave the Land with a family blessing or be trapped forever, Imelda offers to send Miguel home. However, Miguel instead pursues Ernesto de la Cruz in the belief that he shares an extraordinary connection with him.

Words on their own cannot convey the sheer relief I am experiencing on account of the direction that the story took. No tired “follow your dreams” claptrap for this guy, no siree bob. Thanks to a splendidly authored, multilayered script, fully defined protagonists, and a complex but entirely coherent plot laden with surprises both pleasant and the opposite, Coco tells one hell of a coming-of-age tale steeped in Mexican culture. As human beings we give a colossal volume of reverence to luminaries and brilliant minds; their contributions to the world leaving behind an unwavering legacy that practically serves as an impetus for passionate, highly ambitious artists worldwide. I believe Coco asks viewers to make a juxtaposition of this fact with family, as this film’s linchpin is a heartwarming moral about the significance of keeping our loved ones in remembrance long after they’ve croaked and passing on their tales for generations to come. As Jon Negroni of Relevant Magazine puts it, this particular message affiliates itself quite well with the cultural tenets of the Mexican holiday that is Dia de los Muertos. Coco is a cautionary fable about the hazards of being overly ambitious and driven solely by personal desire. It profoundly critiques the cliché of pursuing your dreams at any cost within the framework of a lasting impact that our choices have on others (thanks again Jon Negroni). This is how you make an animated film that moviegoers from all walks of life can appreciate, job well done Pixar.

It appears that the sky is the limit with Pixar as every triumph they conjure up proves to be an even more spellbinding encounter in the aesthetic department than its predecessor; I daresay that “Coco” just might supplant “Inside Out” in that regard. The animation team’s unmitigated attentiveness to detail is a staggering feat of precision work, signifying the perpetual trek towards non-live-action perfection since the advent of CGI. The Land of the Dead is an interminably effervescent metropolis, ever-so mounting in scope and constructed as if from the gray matters of a thousand brilliant architects under the influence of psychedelics endorsed by Jim Morrison himself. The rather dim background is supplemented by the vivid, ebullient luminosity of the conurbation’s lights, giving the impression of an unremitting nighttime shindig; a never ending amalgam of spirited merrymaking and placid relaxation with loved ones.

As a gentleman of Lebanese origin this connected with me on a personal level. Like Mexico, Lebanese culture revolves around family. Some of the greater nights of my life spent with friends and family took place in the vigor-laden confines of the capital Beirut and the serenity of Faraya, a town situated on the mountains overlooking the city. The Land of the Dead is pretty much how I imagined an urban afterlife with those I hold dear to me would look like, so everlasting kudos to the guys at Pixar for giving it the dazzling grandeur it so rightly deserved.

Gems like Coco are the reason my faith in animated films remains unscathed despite an increase in pretty but rather shallow pieces of animation over the years. Pixar, Hayao Miyazaki and the lot; their characters, thematic work, and storytelling acumen for the most part radiate as incandescently as the stunning visuals accompanying the aforementioned crucial elements of filmmaking. Coco is a cohesive, hilarious, heartfelt, and all-around sincere and passionate masterwork that can confidently be placed in the top tier of Pixar’s filmography. To my friends and family, Coco has the Rami Nawfal stamp of approval. So please, drag yourselves to the theater if you have to; I’m already cheesed off that some of you have not taken the time to witness the magnificence that is Blade Runner 2049 in the cinema where it deserves to be seen.

My score: 9/10

© 2017 Rami Nawfal

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)