Nerd Caliber
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TV/Movies & Music

November 8, 2017

Cliches Keep Coco in Pixar’s Small Pile of Missteps

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Written by: Byron D. Zero
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Pixar has bestowed the world with its latest work; Coco, a story about the meaning of family, love, and identity. It’s always good to see a new Pixar production, so how does this one stand up?

Coco tells the story of Miguel who despite his family’s generation-old ban on music, dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz, a Mexican music and film star now deceased. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel and his dog Dante find themselves in the Land of the Dead. Along the way, they meet charming trickster Hector and together they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history, and the reason why they forbid music.

This was not Pixar firing on all cylinders; visually it was of the same pedigree as movies like Inside Out, and the Day of the Dead aesthetic was a marvel to behold. Even at their worst Pixar still makes their movies look good.

The music which was mariachi inspired sounded great, and the original songs were very catchy. Not to mention that the voiceover work was solid, but aside from Benjamin Bratt and Edward James Olmos I am unfamiliar with the cast.

Unfortunately Coco’s shortcomings stick out like a sore thumb to animation enthusiasts like myself; this is by no means groundbreaking storytelling. It runs on the tried and true three-act structure, but sad to say the first and third acts are as generic as dollar store aspirin. Miguel is basically every Disney outcast protagonist, with a Mexican folklore coat of paint, and the end of the first act basically rips off a scene from The Little Mermaid! I hate this movie during the first act for just how unoriginal it came across, and the music ban was the cherry on the sundae. Once we reach the third act everything can more or less be predicted, the truth is revealed and everybody wins!

The second act is easily the meat and potatoes of this film, Miguel and Hector have a ton of great character building. Coco’s second act made Hector my favorite character.

And there just one other thing that bothered me: the titular character Coco was just a plot device! I can’t say much more without spoilers, but she’s not in the movie much, and I find it rather insulting.

Coco was a beautiful mess of a film. I wanted to love this movie going in and there are certain parts that make it almost worth loving. It was well acted, and looked very good, but I didn’t feel the effort and, well, love, that Pixar is known for. I would guess this movie exists to meet their contractual obligations and give them more funding for The Incredibles 2.

I give Coco a 2.5 out of 5.

About the Author

Byron D. Zero


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