Sunday, February 25, 2018
Video review: "Coco"
While otherwise a strong movie year, 2017 was notably lacking in outstanding animated films. “Coco” was easily the best of the lot, though I’d also give some love to the underappreciated “Ferdinand” and “Loving Vincent,” which was animation-by-painting.
Anthony Gonzalez voice-stars as Miguel, a young boy who lives to play music. Problem is, his entire family has a bad history with musicians, stemming back to his great-great grandmother banning tunes from the household after her troubadour husband walked out on them. So Miguel plays on the side, hoping to enter the big music contest in honor of Ernest de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), a late, great singer who’s basically the Elvis of Mexico.
On the holiday of Día de Muertos, a day of devotion to the deceased, Miguel finds himself trapped in the land of the dead, where status is determined by how well you are remembered. Ernesto is the prince of the city, while others like the hapless Hector, a bumbling charlatan voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal, eke out an existence on the edge of the magical city, in danger of being completely forgotten and fading away into nothingness.
The dead are represented as cool-looking skeletons with googly eyes, still wearing the clothes, hair and facial expressions they had in life. It can be a little creepy for younger children, but we soon take the denizens at face value and fall into adventure. Miguel has until the next day to lift the curse, or remain trapped among the dead forever.
Filled with fantastic colors, rousing music, a vivacious Latin cultural theme and a heartwarming tale about the importance of family, “Coco” is a sheer delight for all ages.
Bonus features are exquisite, though most come with the Blu-ray combo pack. The DVD version includes a feature-length commentary track by directed Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson, plus a featurette on Dante, Miguel’s dimwitted canine companion.
Upgrade to the Blu-ray and you add seven deleted scenes and 11 more featurettes, including a travelogue through Mexico, the exhaustive animation process, original animated pieces and more.