Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
Want more? Listen to our discussion of 'Coco' on SWITCHCast
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
It's SWITCH's 8th anniversary! Click here now to join the celebrations and win huge prizes!x
review, Coco, Coco, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Alanna Ubach, Edward James Olmos, Gabriel Iglesias, Jaime Camil, Cheech Marin, Lee Unkrich, Animation, Family film rating

COCO

★★★★

AN AUTHENTIC, JOYFUL ANIMATED MASTERPIECE

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
26th November 2017

It’s been a while since Disney Pixar has had a financial and critical success. The last was back in 2015, with ‘Inside Out’. Finally, they have another hit on their hands with ‘Coco’ - something so fresh and exciting, it’s impossible to ignore.

The Riveras are an average Mexican family - living in the small village of Santa Cecilia, they make shoes for a living, a family trade which has been handed down for generations. What sets them apart from most Mexican families, however, is their disdain for music. It dates back to when Mamá Imelda’s (Alanna Ubach, ‘Legally Blonde’, ’Meet The Fockers’) husband left her and their child to pursue a career as a singer, leaving him and his passion scorned by generations of family members - that is, all except the youngest child, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez). Music is the one thing that truly makes him happy, and when he concludes that his great great grandfather was Mexico’s most famous and long-deceased musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt, ’Doctor Strange’, TV’s ‘Star’), he decides to follow his dreams at the Día de Muertos talent show. However, without an instrument of his own, he’s forced to “borrow” de la Cruz’s famous guitar - and with it, is transported to the Land of the Dead. Desperate to get back home, Miguel must receive a blessing from a family member - but tracking down the illustrious de la Cruz with only a Xolo dog named Dante and charming trickster Hector (Gael García Bernal, TV’s ‘Mozart in the Jungle’, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’, ‘Y Tu Mama Tambien’) before dawn won’t be easy.

'COCO' TRAILER 2

‘Coco’ is an utter joy. Firstly, it’s authenticity is genuine - the cast is entirely Latino, as are many of the lead creatives, and a great deal of research went into Mexican traditions to ensure the film is as genuine as possible. Its authenticity is proven further by the fact that Disney Pixar made an entirely Spanish version of the film with the same cast, and released it in Mexico for Día de Muertos, where it made over $48 million at the box office and became the country’s highest-grossing film of all time.

It also looks spectacular. 20th Century Fox released the Mexican-themed ‘The Book Of Life’ back in 2014, which featured an almost-Land of the Dead setting, which was an onslaught of colours on screen. Here, The Land of the Dead is depicted as immense and towering, with a stunning vibrancy, but also dark and shade. It’s a nicer balance, giving elements like the alebrijes (animal spirit guides) all the more impact with their stunning fluorescence. A ridiculous level of detail has gone into the world building for ‘Coco’, and as you fly on trams through the sky or run through the streets of the city, you’ll be in awe at the setting.

The cast are fantastic, truly inhabiting their characters and offering great talent, but none more so than Anthony Gonzalez. This 12-year-old has been playing in mariachi bands since he was four, and brings so many complex emotions to the character that you entirely forget he’s just a child. Miguel is so full of sparkling tenacity and infectious cheekiness that, by the end, I wanted to take him home and raise him as my own. Gonzalez is also a ridiculously talented musician, and from the first moment he sings, you’ll be utterly blown away; ‘Un Pico Loco’ is undoubtedly my favourite song in the film.

The rest of the cast are equally as impressive. Gael García Bernal as Hector has perhaps the most complex role of the film, with a genuinely affecting portrayal of a character that’s part comedic sidekick, part perishing skeleton. Alanna Ubach’s Imelda is also brilliant, with her tough but caring matriarch. In the Land of the Living, Renée Victor keeps up the trend of strong women as Miguel’s Abuelita (grandmother), who will do anything to protect her family from the misguided path of music.

The cast are fantastic, truly inhabiting their characters and offering great talent, but none more so than Anthony Gonzalez. He brings so many complex emotions to the character of Miguel that you entirely forget he’s just a child.

In fitting with the best of Pixar’s (and Disney’s) films, ‘Coco’ has dark themes; it’s largely set in the Land of the Dead, for goodness sake. The story hinges on the dead being forgotten by the living and enduring the “final death.” You also see numerous people die on screen, including a murder, and more subtly, the film also shows the struggles of single mothers. It’s fantastic to see this film dealing with these tough topics, and Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich’s screenplay handles them effortlessly. The Pixar team’s greatest skill lies in bringing to life ridiculously cute animals as characters, and here Dante, the half-slinky half-playdough dog, is the epitome of delight.

For a film rooted in music, it would have fallen flat if the tunes weren’t up to scratch. Fortunately, it has some genuinely addictive original songs, which easily could have been written by a much-loved Mexican singer decades ago. With a team that included Tony, Grammy, Emmy and Oscar winner Robert Lopez - the man responsible for the music of ‘Avenue Q’, ‘The Book Of Mormon’ and ‘Frozen’ - his collaborator and wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, Mexican-American composer Germaine Franco, the film’s co-director Adrian Molina, and musical consultant Camilo Lara of musical project Mexican Institute of Sound, the songs are a perfect blend of contemporary and timeless Mexican music. They pair seamlessly with Michael Giacchino’s (‘Ratatouille’, ‘Up’) score, providing a fitting aural backdrop to the impressive visual word.

(I also thoroughly recommend hitting up your favourite streaming service and taking a listen to the Spanish renditions of the film's songs, to get lost in the true beauty of this music.)

Besides a marginal degree of predictability, I haven’t got a bad word to say about ‘Coco’. Perhaps it’s my predisposition towards all things Mexican, but this film has so much going for it - its passion, integrity and charm make it an instant Disney Pixar classic. You’ll be sucked in by its infectious music, loveable characters, wondrous world, and the personality of a small boy named Miguel who loves music more than anything else. Grab a friend (and maybe a small box of tissues) and enjoy escaping into this remarkable story.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 26/12/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 49m
CAST: Anthony Gonzalez
Gael García Bernal
Benjamin Bratt
Renée Victor
Ana Ofelia Murguía
Alanna Ubach
Edward James Olmos
Gabriel Iglesias
Jaime Camil
Cheech Marin
DIRECTOR: Lee Unkrich
WRITERS: Adrian Molina
Lee Unkrich
Matthew Aldrich
Jason Katz
PixarCoco
PixarCoco
PixarCoco
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
SWITCH's 8th Anniversary - Come celebrate with us and take home a huge prize pack!
TRENDINGWIN SWITCH'S 8TH ANNIVERSARYCome celebrate with us and take home a huge prize pack!
12 Monkeys: Seasons One & Two - Slick sci-fi drama offers humanity's last hope
TRENDINGWIN 12 MONKEYS: SEASONS ONE & TWOSlick sci-fi drama offers humanity's last hope
Freaks - A post-apocalyptic sci-fi mystery
TRENDINGWIN FREAKSA post-apocalyptic sci-fi mystery
The Angry Birds Movie 2 - A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure for the whole family
TRENDINGWIN THE ANGRY BIRDS MOVIE 2A fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure for the whole family
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Your chance to take home The Complete Seasons 1 - 4
TRENDINGWIN UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDTYour chance to take home The Complete Seasons 1 - 4
E Street: Collection One - A trip down memory lane with this classic Aussie TV drama
TRENDINGWIN E STREET: COLLECTION ONEA trip down memory lane with this classic Aussie TV drama
Mr Holland's Opus - Music to your ears
TRENDINGWIN MR HOLLAND'S OPUSMusic to your ears
Standing Up For Sunny - A comedy without the comedy but very sweet
TRENDINGSTANDING UP FOR SUNNYA comedy without the comedy but very sweet
Playing with Fire - Put out this flaming mess
TRENDINGPLAYING WITH FIREPut out this flaming mess
Marriage Story - Simply extraordinary
TRENDINGMARRIAGE STORYSimply extraordinary
Finding Farideh - An emotional & moving documentary for Iran's Oscar submission
TRENDINGFINDING FARIDEHAn emotional & moving documentary for Iran's Oscar submission
Children of the Sea - Sunk by a soggy script
TRENDINGCHILDREN OF THE SEASunk by a soggy script
The Wild Goose Lake - Supremely stylish neon-noir
TRENDINGTHE WILD GOOSE LAKESupremely stylish neon-noir
Inseparable Bros - A heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
TRENDINGINSEPARABLE BROSA heartwarming tale about disability and the power of friendship
The Addams Family - They're altogether boring, the Addams Family
TRENDINGTHE ADDAMS FAMILYThey're altogether boring, the Addams Family
Frozen 2 - Elsa and Anna return with the magic (mostly) intact
TRENDINGFROZEN 2Elsa and Anna return with the magic (mostly) intact
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
The Queen's Corgi - Barking up the wrong tree
TRENDINGTHE QUEEN'S CORGIBarking up the wrong tree
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
What Will Become Us - The man behind an iconic Australian brand
TRENDINGWHAT WILL BECOME USThe man behind an iconic Australian brand
© 2011 - 2019 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us