Coco by Pixar


I recently watched Pixar’s Coco and thought the visuals, story and music were sensational, here I provide a brief synopsis of the film. Be warned there are some spoilers! If you haven’t seen it yet I strongly recommend giving it a watch.

Coco tells the story of a budding young musician named Miguel. Unfortunately for him he is part of a family who has a generational long ban on music. Miguel has to keep his passion private from his family, who immerse themselves in the family shoemaking business.

The family are horrified when they learn of Miguel’s secret ambitions and, in a fit of rage his grandmother smashes his guitar. Miguel, in an act of defiance, signs up for a music contest but without a guitar he is unable to perform. Miguel urgently goes about the town trying to see if any musician will lend him their guitar, but they all say no. In a final act of desperation Miguel heads to the mausoleum of the world renowned musician Ernesto de la Cruz. In the sacred mausoleum Miguel finds de la Cruz’s guitar, he picks it up and plays a chord. Unbeknown to him, the guitar of de la Cruz has magical properties which allows Miguel to enter into the spirit world. Miguel is now invisible to all living people and can only interact with spirits.

He meets his ancestors who are thrilled to see him but, anxious to help him return to the living world. For him to return to normal he must receive a blessing from one of his family members. All are too afraid to, apart from Mamá Imelda, who gives him her blessing on the condition that he can never play music again. Miguel refuses, and upon discovering that Ernesto de La Cruz is his grandfather goes on a journey through the land of the dead to ask for his blessing. Along the way he meets Hector who agrees to help him find de la Cruz  in exchange for Miguel to put up a picture of Hector on the Ofrenda, so that he can return to the land of the living to see his daughter and not be forgotten. For someone to be forgotten in the land of the dead is a very bad thing, they fade away and no one knows were they go.

When Miguel and Hector finally meet Ernesto de la Cruz they discover an unsettling truth about the stars past, and what he is willing to do to attain and keep fame. Ernesto refuses to give Miguel his blessing and throws both him and Hector out of his mansion, it is here that it transpires that Hector is in fact Miguel’s great great grandfather.

Ultimately the two have to overcome a few more challenges in order to help Miguel return to the world of the living, but they succeed in their task. True to his word Miguel places the picture of Hector up on the Ofrenda so that he can visit the family once a year for the festival of the dead.

This is a very brief summary of the plot and there are many more nuances and story that I have left out. It is a gripping tale that people of all ages can enjoy.

Not only was the story brilliant but the visuals and music were exquisite. Mexican culture is known for its vibrant use of colour and many Mexicans cultural values are centred around food, music, art and family and this is very well reflected in Coco.

So much thought has been put into the environment designs of the film, for example the land of the dead is very colourful whilst having a constantly dark sky. The houses are higgledy piggledy and all stacked on top of each other with numerous extensions and add ons to houses. The reason for this design is that there are always new additions to the world of the dead that will never leave unless they are forgotten.