Coco, Disney Pixar’s new film, centers on a boy’s musical journey within Mexico’s Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) traditions and folklore.
This is the 19th Pixar film directed by Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina.
The film’s production provides colorful visuals, Mexican music, and most of the voice cast is entirely by Latino actors.
Opening Nov. 22, Coco delivers an important message about family through the customs and traditions of Mexican culture.
It’s important for people to know the significance of the Day of the Dead to fully understand the film.
Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a Mexican holiday honoring dead family members and friends.
According to Mexican traditions, it is believed that the spirits of the dead visit their families on Oct. 31 and leave on Nov. 2.
During the celebration, families make altars and place ofrendas (offerings) such as pan de muertos (bread) along with their beloved one’s favorite foods and drinks.
Altars are are decorated with colorful paper, candles, yellow marigolds (cempasuchil) and portraits of the deceased are also placed on the altar.
Coco is a beautifully written story based on the concept of the Day of the Dead, meanwhile respecting the Mexican culture.
It narrates a story of a boy named Miguel Rivera (voiced by young Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old resident of the town of Santa Cecilia who dreams of becoming a famous musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voiced by Benjamin Bratt).
Miguel comes from a family of shoemakers, and for generations, the Riveras family has banned music because they believe they have been cursed by it.
There is a ban for music ever since Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned his wife to follow his dream of being a musician, leaving Mama Imelda, Miguel’s great-great-grandmother (voiced by Alanna Noel Ubach) to declare music dead to the family.
Miguel’s family has forbidden any form of music in their household for the past several generations and one of the main enforcers is Abuelita (voice by Renee Victor).
One of the main characters is Abuelita who loves her family so much, but when she gets angry, she uses her “chancla” (slipper) to discipline Miguel.
Mamá Coco (voiced by Ana Ofelia Murguía) is Miguel’s sweet great grandmother and acts like a parental figure to Miguel.
She is a warm-hearted and a supportive grandmother.
Even though music is banned in Miguel’s family, he becomes passionate of it.
Soon, Miguel discovers a special link between himself and his favorite singer when he sees a picture of Ernesto de la Cruz on the altar that his family puts on the Day of the Dead.
He starts imitating his favorite idol by playing a guitar he keeps away from the family and in doing so, he accidentally enters the Land of the Dead.
In the beautiful Land of the Dead, he meets the souls of his own family’s ancestors, including his great-great-grandmother Imelda.
When Miguel realizes he is in the Land of the Dead, he is given the opportunity to wander around in company of his beloved dog named Dante.
Dante is a Xoloitzcuintl dog, which is an Aztec word for dog/god.
The Xolos are an ancient breed that are said to have healing powers and be guides through the underworld.
Therefore, Dante plays an important role in the movie because he has a unique ability that none of the characters have.
During the journey, Miguel meets Hector (voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal), a friendly skeletal who guides and helps him find out the real mystery behind his family history.
In the Land of the Dead, he goes through a chain of events that lead him to solve a mystery related to his family’s history.
Mamá Imelda agrees to send Miguel back into the Land of the Living under one condition.
It is up to Miguel if he decides to continue finding Ernesto de la Cruz before time runs out or he’ll have go through some big trouble.
This movie is a great film to watch with the family as it presents the themes of innocence, friendship, love and is hilarious.
Berenice Valdez is a student at CSUSB and plans to watch the movie because the trailer seems fun and entertaining to her.
“I like how the grandma takes care of Miguel which shows how family is really important,” said Valdez.
Valdez is also happy that the movie shows the belief of the afterlife through the Day of the Dead as it is an important tradition to her.
In regards to the voice cast which is mostly entirely by Latino actors, Valdez thinks its nice that Disney being a major Hollywood production would make a movie about Mexican culture.
“They are accepting our culture and portraying it in a good funny way,” said Valdez.
Coco premiered in Mexico at the Morelia International Film Festival on Oct. 20 and will open in the United States on Nov. 22, just in time for Thanksgiving.