Disney’s latest venture, Coco, explores the fascinating, cultural concepts related to Mexican traditions and family heritages. Its Day of the Dead vibes throughout render this film as an original, charming and innovative approach to the conventional expectations we have come to appreciate in this style of animated film. The visuals glide off the screen with vibrancy and colour, while the lead character is likeable and engaging. While the plot itself was predictable and overly familiar in its structural intentions, the conclusion wrapped the piece up nicely and made for yet another enjoyable, heartwarming tale in Disney’s library.
This film sets out on a journey with aspiring musician Miguel, who searches to find the secrets to his family’s musical heritage and their current resistance to accept it. As the story unfolds, this tale becomes deeper and deeper, and therefore more engaging over time. Its initial premise appears rather quiant, but it soon transforms into a very intresting adventure with a lot of potential. Especially towards the end, this story has a really spectacular way of providing some unexpected twists and subverting the narrative’s typical antagonist. It had its funny moments, its sad ones and its wonderous ones, but it still doesn’t quite manage to capture the depth in plot enough to warrant it as a structurally original story. While its concepts and ideas combined into something incredibly intriguing and potentially special, it never tried to raise the bar or push for a tighter and breathtaking journey. It felt too predictable and familiar to previous films in the Disney atmosphere. This could very much appeal to the target audience, that being younger viewers who may need a clearer direction to follow narratively, but its broader appreciation for the audience as a whole seems to be lacking. Despite that, this film does a fantastic job of presenting a thematically rich, welcoming family tale in a relatively successful manner.
On the topic of themes, Coco excellently conveys its morals and messages in an implicit manner, whilst holding true to its original narrative structure, a far more distinctive and powerful feature that some animations – namely The Emoji Movie and Despicable Me 3 – have completely disregarded or simply not considered. As a result, this film ventures a little further into the integral underlying depth and really tries to accomodate for second viewings, while leaving younger audiences with concepts to learn from and understand in the context of their social lives. It may only be a slight feature within the film’s colourful, stylistically beautiful presentation, but it breathes new life into its creation and overall purpose. There’s some very relatable and important messages, which tell younger audiences to follow their dreams and hold your family close – both points that serve a greater intention for the narrative and for later viewings. In every sense, Coco is thematically brilliant and thoughtful.
Now, as this is Disney’s most current animation thus far it comes as no surpirse that the visuals are nothing short of incredible. Its colourful and lively presence blissfully captures the sense of wonder Miguel may be experiencing. Every environment is a collage of bright colours and textures, from the fluorscent lights on the magnificent buildings to the path of orange leaves. But where the visuals truly work their glorious magic is in the facial expressions and details that few animations have really been able to create as stunningly as this. From the finer details on the skeletal figures or the contours on Miguel’s grandmother’s face, this style of animation pops with vibrancy and depth. While it isn’t quite as impressive as Moana’s animated artstyle, it still has some of the greatest detail and general colour in a Disney title.
Another key element in any Disney animation is the musical score that compliments the visual material. In Coco, the soundtrack isn’t particularly memorable, but it’s got a lot of charm and texture to it that really benefits the tone and atmosphere of the piece well. There are certainly moments where the soundtrack really kicks into gear and presents a very lighthearted and lively atmosphere, which will surely have viewers smiling. However, when comparing it to previous titles, Coco has a soundtrack that doesn’t go much further than simply pleasing its audience. It’s never striving for anything greater than that and therefore only promises such delights when layered alongside the film. Despite that though, the score in this animation still proves to be incredibly welcoming, warming and fun, which further adds to the viewing experience.
In conclusion, Coco is yet another fantastically original, beautifully colourful and incredibly fun animation from Disney, which provides a very lighthearted tale with a cast of great characters. Though its structure isn’t seeking to diversify or change from the expectations and the musical score doesn’t quite provide the same instant power, this is a solid animation that understands exactly what it is trying to execute and coherently delivers. The wonderous adventure Miguel journies through is investing and very promising, while keeping a lot of innovative creations and ideas on the screen to really encapsulate this magnificence. This is another strong addition to Disney’s recent titles and just goes to show that, after all these years, they still have the magic touch in animation.
VERDICT – 7.5/10