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Movie Review - Coco

Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) was the greatest musician to ever live. Whether in film, stage or on record, Ernesto de la Cruz was adored by his legions of fans. For 12 year old Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez) of the fictional Mexican village called Santa Cecilia; decades after the tragic death of de la Cruz, Ernesto remains larger than life itself. For seemingly forever, Miguel dreams of following in the footsteps of his idol; except for being crushed by a giant bell during a concert, of course. The problem is, the Rivera family comes from a proud line of shoemakers, that has also banned music. Forever. Apparently Miguel's maternal great-great grandfather left his family to pursue a career in music, leaving his great-great grandmother Imelda (Alanna Ubach) and her daughter Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia) behind, forcing Imelda to provide for the family by making shoes.

Any form of musical intonation is prohibited, however the rebellious Miguel is determined to perform at the town's Day of the Dead celebration. In a family argument Miguel accidentally breaks a family photo on the Ofrenda (an altar that allows the dead to visit relatives on the Day of the Dead). In the photo of Mama Imelda, Coco and Imelda's deadbeat husband, the man is holding a guitar similar to that of Ernesto de la Cruz. With a renewed determination, Miguel goes to the mausoleum of Ernesto de la Cruz, "borrows" Ernesto's guitar but, instead of killing the competition, Miguel is transported to the land of the dead, where he has until sunrise to get a family member's blessing and cross over to the land of the living. Without that blessing of an Aztec Marigold's petal, Miguel will remain in the land of the dead. Mama Imelda could easily grant that blessing, but on the condition that Miguel gives up his musical ambitions. Unwilling to accept the terms of the blessing, Miguel sets off to find another family member that could grant his blessing home; his great-great grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz.

Coco was released in late October in Mexico and has quickly become the biggest movie in Mexico this year. Mexican press was worried that Disney/Pixar would be an insensitive, for profit appropriation of Mexican culture. Thankfully, Coco is a tale that is culturally unique, with an overarching message of family vs destiny that should appeal to all demographics. Pixar does it again with another engrossing tale that is beautifully animated, with likable, memorable characters. Young Anthony Gonzalez isn't the best singer, so a few of the songs lacked the emotional impact, found in other films. Engaging from the beginning and filled with enough twists to keep you guessing, Coco is the type of film that reveals itself in layers all the way to its emotional conclusion.

Verdict: A

Rated: PG @ 105 mins

Note: In 3D Where available

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