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Review: 'Coco' is an uplifting spiritual journey

Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2018 at 5:25 PM Central

by John Couture

There are few things more absolute in life than Pixar delivering an amazing film. Their films resonate not only with children but they are also enjoyed by people at any age. Over the years, their success has gotten to be so expected, that if they were to make a bad film, I worry that it would tear a hole in the very fabric of space and time.

Thankfully, no one has to worry about such things as Coco continues Pixar's dominance of the animated film world. Of course, Pixar isn't one to rest on its laurels and they truly push the envelope by moving far from their comfort zone with Coco and the result is another fabulous film that will delight audiences.

Coco follows a young boy who is born into a family of shoemakers but he dreams of following his heart and making music. The problem is that music is forbidden in his family, but that doesn't stop the boy from seeking answers about his past in the most unlikely of places.

Coco takes root in Mexican culture, specifically around Dia de los Muertos, and their vibrant culture is celebrated in a way that we have never seen before. Traditionally, Pixar films are set in more familiar or universal settings and by selecting a really specific setting for Coco, the filmmakers took a big risk.

Naturally, that risk paid off as not only were they able to capture the pageantry and reverence for Dia de los Muertos, but they were also able to celebrate Mexican heritage through their depiction of the afterworld. We are able to briefly meet painter Frida Kahlo and wrestler Santo in the afterworld and their appearances add to the rich tapestry of the film.

And yet, while the film clearly celebrates its Mexican roots, as someone that wasn't very familiar with the custom of Dia de los Muertos, I was able to enjoy the film thoroughly. This is another strength of Pixar. They are able to tell universal stories that connect with the audience no matter their particular background. Coco is heavy on the themes of family, love, and loss and these stories translate into any language.

As with any Pixar offering, the Blu-ray combo pack is fully loaded with special features and goodies that will satiate any fan. Coco delivers on the goods and it always surprises me at how much extra material is lying around with animated films.

There are seven deleted scenes with introductions from the filmmakers. Some of the scenes are more complete than others, but by including them we are given true insight into the creative process. Sometimes, it's easy to simply enjoy a film without thinking about all of the blood, sweat, and tears that went into the production of that film.

There are no less than 12 featurettes that spotlight everything from the music to the filmmakers love of Xolo dogs. It is pretty apparent that the filmmakers went on their own journey to discover this rich Mexican heritage and the result is the love letter that is Coco.

I am continually blown away by the flims that Pixar brings to the market place. They are always superb and they each tell a unique, even their sequels! Coco is another fine example of what animated films can be and it should have no issue in winning the Best Animated Film Oscar at this weekend's awards ceremony. Coco is a fun film for the whole family and instant repeat watch classic that will surely entertain your kids for many years to come.

Coco is now available on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD.