Early reviews are out for CoCo, and it looks like this Day of the Dead inspired story is going to be another huge hit for Pixar. The latest offering from the animation powerhouse, CoCo tells the story of Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), a young boy in Mexico who wants nothing more than to play the guitar. However, his family refuses to allow anyone to make music, thanks to a shiftless ancestor who abandoned his family to be a troubadour. In his attempts to be a musician, Miguel ends up transported into the land of the dead, where he must go on a quest to find his way home.
The film has been generating quite a bit of buzz, not least because it adds some much-needed diversity to the Pixar stable. The film has involved lots of careful research into the traditions of the Day of the Dead festival, and despite the occasional faux pas, it seems to manage to celebrate, not appropriate. Now, early reviews for the film are in, and sound like CoCo will be another major success for Pixar.
Early reviews were released on Friday the 20th, ahead of the film’s release next month – an interesting choice of release date for a family film that isn’t a continuation of an already-successful franchise. However, most of the reviews are glowing, which bodes well for the film at the box office:
Variety – “Coco” reveals the emptiness of such adulation, poignantly teaching kids to preserve and respect the memory of their elders while reminding them that the source of true creativity is so often personal.
THR – [Coco] emerge[s] as Pixar’s most original effort since Inside Out, it’s also among its most emotionally resonant.
The Wrap – If an animated movie is going to offer children a way to process death, it’s hard to envision a more spirited, touching and breezily entertaining example than “Coco
Much of the praise for the film is heaped on the stunning visuals, including friendly skeletons and the gorgeous vistas of the Land of the Dead. From the trailers, it’s clear that this is a world that has been carefully created, and is absolutely beautiful. The reviews also praise the attention to detail given to the various aspects of the Day of the Dead and the culture celebrating it – from the street dog that accompanies Miguel on his quest, to altars and marigold petals, it’s clear that Pixar wanted to really capture what makes this festival special.
However, the reviews are not all positive, with several suggesting that the plot is a little too straightforward, and not as imaginative as Pixar’s best. Screendaily call the film “reverent rather than inspired”, and describes it as both mediocre and perfunctory. Of course, it is difficult to live up to such incredible offerings as Toy Story or Inside Out, and Miguel’s quest is comparatively straightforward. The beauty of the film and the much-needed exploration of this culture are what seem to be the elements that could make CoCo a huge success.
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