Pixar is very skilled at making movies that really toy with the emotions and Coco is no exception. Set during Día de los Muertos, a young boy named Miguel pursues his passion of being a musician despite his family’s detesting which ends up taking him on a journey to the Land of the Dead. Pixar’s Coco is a very enjoyable movie that is able to depict a mysterious world that could only be told through animation. And at it’s core it continues to remind viewers about it’s central theme of family, so come prepared with tissues because it’s an emotional ride.
One of the aspects of Coco that made it an intriguing and enjoyable film was how much detail the movie goes into the actual tradition of Día de los Muertos and how it’s able to share this tradition with the world. For those who are unfamiliar, Día de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that celebrates and remembers friends and family members that have passed on. During a press conference last week, Lee Unkrich (director of Coco) discussed that his team had taken many lengthy trips to Mexico in order to learn everything about the culture and tradition. And what he found to be a central theme of family. He said, “I had always been interested in the tradition and I spent some time doing some research and really trying to understand more than I already knew. The more that I dug in the more that I learned about how central family is to the celebrations and that Dia De Muertos is all about this obligation that we have to remember our loved ones and to pass their stories along….I just really started to see the potential to telling a unique story, to tell a story that could only be told in animation, that could be visual dazzling but also had the potential to have a real emotional core…”. Gael Garcia Bernal, who voices Hector, voiced how amazed he was by the research Unkrich put in to the film saying ” I was just amazed by the amount of research….also the incorporation, kind of like the holistic approach that they were trying to do to the Day of the Dead celebration that they were also putting forth a very personal point of view as well, which ultimately personal point of views are what make a movie good ….and i was willing to jump into that thrill”. Pixar knew how important it was to portray another culture’s traditions properly, and the cast who had grown up with these traditions felt like Pixar had done an amazing job. Edward James Olmos also agreed, saying that the creators were “so incredibly respectful of the material they were working with”.
Ultimately, the creators of Coco want this movie to inspire families to come together and remember their past loved ones. Darla K Anderson, Producer of Coco, said “what I really want young kids to take away from the film is to be thinking about their ancestors, to be thinking about where they came from”. Mexico has very unique traditions in order to remember their ancestors which some people haven’t thought about as that important. And Coco finds a way to inspire others to take on that tradition. Adrian Molina, Co-Director of Coco, wants people to take away the message that “sometimes it takes you a long time to learn the value of what your parents have to teach you, or what your grandparents have to teach you, and sometimes its a struggle to realize why that applies to your life….even when communication is messy…love is there. As you grow older you really understand to respect the sacrifices made for you and you want to pay it back, you want to find a way to say thank you for all the things that the previous generations have struggled to provide for you”.
Although the movie really pulls on the heartstrings trying to remind us that the time we have with our family is precious, it also has plenty of humor as well. The movie includes a lot of funny moments making it a truly enjoyable film! Pixar’s Coco comes to theaters this Thanksgiving, November 21.