Coco (2017), directed by Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich, follows the story of Miguel, torn between his love for music and the love of his family, who travels to the land of the dead in hopes of finding the answers to his problems. The Disney Pixar animated film stars Anthony Gonzalez as Miguel, Gael Garcia Bernal as Hector, and Benjamin Bratt as Ernesto de la Cruz. The film concept was inspired by the Mexican Dia de Los Muertos, exploring the cultural themes of honoring and remembering the ancestors and other celebratory events during this holiday. YouTubers Chris Stuckmann, Angry Joe, Other Joe and Alex from the channel AngryJoeShow and Jaby Koay and Achara Kirk from the channel Jaby Koay, share their thoughts on the family fun Pixar film.
The abuelita was pretty spot on to my abuelita. She had her secret weapon, the chancla. Which she utilizes pretty well and I would always get the chancla when I would misbehave.
An aspect of the film that really resonates with YouTuber Other Joe from AngryJoeShow is the portrayal of Miguel’s abuelita (grandmother) in which he compares to his own abuelita. Fellow YouTuber Alex chimes in with a story remembering how his own Peruvian grandmother would also use the chancla as a disciplinary tool on his mischievous younger self. Despite all having Hispanic and Latino ethnic backgrounds, the YouTubers were very unfamiliar with the Dia de los Muertos holiday and find the film does a great job in presenting this cultural aspect in a compelling storyline.
It’s got some good storytelling. And I think by the end I was like ok. I had a newfound appreciation for other people’s culture and other people’s heritage and the way they look at things in the cycle of life and death and things like that.
Pixar has done it again. The animation in this film is on a new level, according to YouTuber Chris Stuckmann. He goes on to praise the realistic and minuet details in every scene especially when describing the land of the dead:
It’s a clichés for me to say this movie is gorgeously animated because it is. It's insanely detailed. Then there were specific shots of city structure and streets and cobble stone walkways that just looked photo realistic … that’s the level that Pixar is at now, computer animation has come so far it's mind boggling.
YouTuber Achara Kirk echoes the same praise in the detailed animation of the wide shot scenes of the afterlife city. She says the films inspiration from Mexican culture and Dia de los Muertos really shows through the colorfulness and vibrancy of the visuals, which is translated throughout the entire film:
Every frame that you’re looking at is beautifully crafted, you know that there was painstaking efforts.
Although the film leads in advanced animation and stunning visuals, some of the YouTubers feel the film fails to build on a solid plot. There is a great theme, some really fun surprises and plot twists for the characters, but in the end, you don’t become as invested as you do in some of Pixar’s other films, says Stuckmann. The YouTuber suggests that maybe the familiar story trope of a young boy wanting to do something else apart from his family and following his dreams without wanting to disappoint everyone and their expectations, has been done better in other films.
As a story it's really beautiful and very touching, but it didn’t really wrap me into it and I didn’t feel all that invested in the characters despite the fact that it’s so well told and really beautifully directed.
Angry Joe, just doesn’t buy the whole, no music end of discussion type of attitude Miguel’s grandmother has in the film. It was over the top and like the conflict is being forced, says the YouTuber who says when it comes down to it, Hispanic families will always support you no matter what your dream is.
This family is like no fuckin music at all. Don’t sing. Don’t fuckin play a guitar. Don’t tap your foot don’t even go to the fuckin area of the city that has music playing. I’m like alright. This is a little much. A little forced in order to get that conflict.
YouTuber Jaby Koay notices an interesting and unusual theme the film brings to light. The theme of “killing your hero” or exploiting the expectations of a hero. The film creates this image of Ernesto del la Cruz as this amazing musician with tremendous talent, and then when Miguel finally meets his idol, his image gets shattered by this potential murderer and fraud of a man.
“He goes to the land of the dead and he meets his hero who he thinks is his great great grandfather and his whole world falls apart when he realizes that he’s potentially related to a murderer. Can you imagine if you found that out about your family member and its someone you idolize? That aspect to me is fascinating and I’m really glad they brought that into the movie.
Despite a few storyline and plot issues with Coco, all the YouTubers feel this heartwarming and at times tear-jerking film, is a great family film worth checking out.
YouTubers Chris Stuckmann, Angry Joe, Other Joe, and Alex from the channel AngryJoeShow, and Jaby Koay and Achara Kirk from Jaby Koay’s channel, review and rate movies and TV shows on their channels regularly.