Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Movie Review - Coco

Coco by Pixar.

Well, I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie. I mean, it won some awards, got a lot of attention and was clearly very well done. I'd even heard good things about it from locals who have Mexico in their family history. But I'd purposefully avoided any major spoilers because I knew I would eventually see it, so I wasn't really sure what it was about.

I also came into the movie with only a vague understanding of the Day of the Dead. In short, it's the one day the souls of the dead can return to earth to visit their loved ones from the Land of the Dead - a sort of limbo. In the movie, they can only cross over if they are remembered by their living families on an ofrenda. Offerings at the grave or on the ofrenda can be taken by the souls of the dead back to the Land of the Dead to be used. It's made clear in the movie that the more offerings provided by people in the living world, the wealthier the soul in the Land of the Dead. I don't know how closely this mirrors the true beliefs, but it was fascinating to see in the movie.

Another twist happens when people are forgotten. Families are kept in the Land of the Dead by stories passed down from generation to generation. So as long as someone who knew a person in life told a story about that person to someone else who is alive, the soul stays in the Land of the Dead. As people are forgotten and even the passed down stories vanish from living memory, the souls leave the Land of the Dead - and not even the inhabitants of that land know where they go.

This is all very important to the plot, but it's also a fascinating mythology that could lead me into a prolonged discussion on religious beliefs and how souls continue - but I think I'm going to pass on that discussion and instead focus on the movie.

The animation was gorgeous. At the first view of the Land of the Dead made both hubby-Eric and I wish for a big screen television. The whole thing was a feast for the eyes, from the humble shoe-makers' workshops to the most elegant party to the cenote.

The story was strong as well. Miguel wants to be a musician more than anything else, but his family banned music from their household after Miguel's great-great-grandfather ran off to be a musician and abandoned his wife and the four-year-old Coco. In his intense desire to win a talent show, Miguel commits a crime against the dead and becomes cursed. At that point, the fun really starts.

The plot is peppered with foreshadowing, so I usually caught the next plot twist before it happened. I did get a bit confused about the rules of the Land of Dead, and in fact wondered about it until a closer look made me understand. (SPOILERS ROT-13) Zvthry unq gb trg onpx gb Pbpb orsber fur sbetbg ure sngure fb fur jbhyq cnff gur fgbevrf bs uvz nybat gb gur snzvyl. Bapr fur fcbxr gur gnyrf bs ure sngure gb gurz, ur ab ybatre jnf sbetbggra. Rira jura Pbpb qvrf, uvf fgbel jnf gbyq, naq ur jnf noyr gb fgnl jvgu uvf snzvyl va gur Ynaq bs gur Qrnq naq ivfvg gur yvivat snzvyl jura gurl erfgberq uvf cubgb gb gur bseraqn. Fb rira gubhtu Pbpb vf jvgu uvz ng gur raq, ur'f fgvyy noyr gb ivfvg orpnhfr gurl erzrzore uvz naq xabj uvf fgbel. Sbe njuvyr V gubhtug gung bapr gur ynfg yvivat crefba jub xarj lbh qvrq, lbh jbhyq yrnir gur Ynaq bs gur Qrnq. Gung'f pyrneyl abg gur pnfr. (SPOILERS)

It's a great movie with a strong message about family and love. And the importance of remembering what came before. I really enjoyed it and found myself leaking about the eyes when it was over. Hubby-Eric and I plan to watch it again, this time in Spanish. It deserves a solid five starfish for being tightly plotted and extremely well executed.