Sunday, November 26, 2017

Why You Should See Coco - Movie Review


I'm going to do things a bit differently, and give you the TL:DR version first of my movie review of the new Pixar film, Coco. See it. Just do it.
You're better off going now and then coming back to read my thoughts after. If you simply must know right now, just check below this adorable photo of Bean enjoying himself thoroughly.
Now either you've already seen the movie, or you're bad at following instructions. Either way, we're here now, so let's make the most of it. Going in, I wasn't super excited about Coco, not gonna lie. Which is a little odd for me, since I lived in California for a time, and have some passing familiarity with Dia de los Muertos. The girls were all amped up for Olaf's Frozen Adventure, which was good enough to warrant its own review. We were curious about Coco, even though Olaf's latest adventure was as long as a TV show. And I am so glad we got to see it.

Now, on to Coco.  First off, the visuals are amazing in this film. Being married to a photographer, I found myself paying extra attention to things like color and lighting. And they were breathtaking. I'm used to seeing visually pleasing elements in Pixar movies, that's nothing new. This movie went beyond all that. The scene where you first see the land of the dead is stunning; there's no other word for it. 

But the story is what really makes this film a classic. I won't re-hash all the details, that isn't what we do here. Instead, I'm going to tell you that this film has an engaging storyline, a whole host of fully realized characters, and includes a lot of Mexican history and tradition, while still remaining accessible. It packs an emotional punch, too. While it isn't as heart-stopping as Toy Story 3, for example, I think the emotional current runs deeper in this film. For me, it was right up there with Big Hero 6 and Inside Out in terms of the feelings it generates.  

Now, the reason that I told you to go see it first is because I do feel a bit like the movie did benefit from having relatively no expectations going in. It's Pixar, (and not the Good Dinosaur,) so it's liable to be pretty good. But not knowing much else may have lent this movie a little more punch; only time and repeat viewings will really tell about that. My initial response is to put it up with such favorites as Big Hero 6 and Inside Out, due to this being a big story and emotion-based movie. Like I said, additional viewings will show if it holds up, like those two did, or if it falls a little flat, like Monsters U. My gut feeling is that this will be a classic, though. And Bean loved it, start to finish. He successfully fought naptime off the entire movie, and when it ended, he started signing "more." The only other time he's done this for something non-food related was the Incredibles 2 trailer. We might end up hitting this one again before it even leaves theaters.  

Another major factor that really made the movie is the music. I'm a fan of Flamenco guitar and Mariachi music, so I wasn't shocked that I enjoyed the soundtrack. What was more surprising was that the rest of the family loved it so much, too. When we quizzed the kids about their favorite part, Bug's was Remember Me, a key song in the movie. She went so far as to dig out Bear's guitar afterwards and try to play it. She's never shown any interest in even picking up a guitar before, so we'll call it a work in progress. 

But Benjamin Bratt and Gael Garcia Bernal both put in impressive musical performances. I wasn't familiar with the other actors, but there isn't a bad song on the soundtrack. I'm less fond of the pop version of the main song, but well, that's been the deal with pretty much every Disney soundtrack, ever. I guess I'll have to learn some of the songs (if I can,) so that I can teach them to Bug.  


Who should go see this movie:

Everybody. Seriously, it's a buddy comedy. It's a musical. It's a cultural piece. It's an emotional story. It's a fun adventure. There are so many hats this movie wears, and yet it never felt scattered or disjointed. It never felt like they were trying to combine too many things. All the ingredients came together to form one fantastic pan dulce. Okay, fine so let me be more specific.
- Dates. If you're seeing somebody who doesn't mind heading to a cartoon movie, this wouldn't be a bad option. You'll seem sensitive.
- Parents. In classic Pixar fashion, we get a film that can entertain kids while still engaging adults. There's some humor, and a great family ethic.
- Kids. Duh. Even the one-year-old stayed locked in.
- Pixar fans. If you think the company's been a bit off lately, apparently you missed Inside Out. But this is the Pixar we know and love, and they hit it out of the park on this try. 

Who should skip this movie:

- People without souls.
- Hardcore MMA enthusiasts who don't want to be caught walking out of a kids' movie all misty-eyed. 

So finally, I just want to say that you really need to give this movie a chance, even if you only really want to see the Frozen (really, really long for a) short beforehand. Stick around. You're missing out big if you don't.  
- Jacob

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