MOVIE REVIEW: Coco a dazzling extravaganza the whole family can savour

Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) has a very special relationship with his great-grandmother, Mamá Coco (voice of Ana Ofelia Murguía) in Pixar’s new movie Coco. Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved

Coco, directed by Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina

Vicky Sparks

Pixar movies have long been considered the top of the animation game – from Toy Story to Up to Inside Out they’ve been delighting children and adults alike for decades.

In their latest film, Coco, the studio animators brings to life the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

The holiday celebrates family and honours those family members who have passed away by creating ofrendas (alters) featuring photos – if the spirit is featured on an ofrenda then they get a one-night pass back to the land of the living to visit their family.

Coco focuses on the story of 12-year-old Miguel whose family has been shoemakers for generations – but Miguel is ready for a change and longs to be a musician.

This choice upsets his family to no end and sets off a chain of events no one in the family could have anticipated.

Through some kind of holiday magic, Miguel finds himself on the ‘other side’ but still very much alive. His mission? To find his great-great-grandfather and receive a blessing so he can return to the land of the living before it’s too late.

With strong vocal performances from Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal and newcomer Anthony Gonzalez, Coco will steal your heart.

The movie is a testament to how far animated storytelling has come, with characters that feel as relatable and real as your own family.

The character of Coco is Miguel’s 97-year-old great-great-grandmother, who is slowly fading away with senility. The emotion and details with which the artists imbue her face will bring you to tears and make you want to call your own grandma.

On top of the solid emotional pull that we’ve come to expect from Pixar, Coco is a visual extravaganza – it’s full of life and colour.

From crazy animal spirit guides that light up from within to talent shows and parties, the other side is a spectacle that needs to be seen to be believed.

Despite the fact that two-thirds of the movie is spent in a land of skeletons it is never scary. It’s not a full musical, but there are a number of songs so catchy they will be stuck in your head for days.

With a focus on family and culture, and with an ending that would make anyone cry, Coco is the perfect family film.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia