Pro – Great movie-making
Coco is just a great movie. It tells a story that is fun, compelling, and personal. It’s a story familiar to many: the real conflict of growing up and wanting to spread one’s wings set against the expectation of family tradition and beliefs.
Miguel, the main character, loves his family and wants to make them proud, but also wants badly to play music like his hero, Ernesto de la Cruz, rather than carry on the family tradition of making shoes. He’s respectful and loving, but also pulled by yearnings of youth. His family has an ancestral ban on music and wants to prevent Miguel from going down that path.
They aren’t mean or controlling, but rather just want what they believe will be best for him. It’s refreshing to see family conflict handled in a loving way. No one is forced to be the tyrant or buffoon. This conflict sets the stage for an adventure wrapped in Latino tradition and lore. To a cultural outsider, it’s funny, informative, and accessible.
Pro – Pixar
Coco is Pixar movie-making at its finest. That’s not to say it’s their best film ever, necessarily, but technically it’s as good as anything they’ve ever done. The film is gorgeous. Yes, it’s animated, the colors and visuals are so striking it’s really a marvel. The music is snappy and fun, and adds to the ambiance. The humor is funny, and the fine details are all there for anyone to look for and discover.
Con – Let it go
If you’ve done any reading online, you’ve probably discovered that Coco is preceded by a 21-minute short film centered on Olaf from the Disney franchise Frozen. I was aware of the short, but not the length. Apparently the short was slated to be a half-hour Christmas special appearing on ABC, but got moved to the front of this film. Be prepared, because it is brutal to sit through. Had it aired on ABC, I’d likely have enjoyed watching it with my girls; however, in the theater, waiting for the “real” movie to begin, it is agonizingly and maddeningly long. Just be prepared that Coco is starting 30 minutes later than you think.
This isn’t really a con, but it is important to note that Coco is set against the Mexican tradition of Dia de Muertos. It gives the film a lot of character and charm, but it does involve a large portion of the film being full of living skeletons. While they are mostly cute and funny, it is worth considering if your younger children (4-6) might find the film to be a bit scary.