‘When there’s no one left in the living world who remembers you, you disappear from this world. We call it the Final Death…’
Sweet Christ why do I do it to myself. Every time I happen upon Wall-E‘s face I am so emotionally stricken that I have to sit down, seeing the word ANDY causes another internal collapse and I can’t even think about Up without having to lock myself in a dark room. Fuck grown ups cinema, Pixar is as emotional as it gets and Coco might just be the most emotional of them all…
Miguel defies his family to pursue a music career in a move that takes him all the way to the land of the dead and back. If that sounds overly simplistic, that’s because it is. To be honest, there is a lot going on in terms of plotting in Coco and I’m too emotionally drained to go into all that. I’ve still recovering from the full face crumple that I have endured. A moment as embarrassing as it was emphatic.
Let’s be real for a second though. Emotional resonance doesn’t equal great cinema (see Marley & Me) and actually, Coco is not a classic Pixar film. While it is visually enchanting and certainly unique, it doesn’t come close to the ingenuity of the Toy Story franchise or the sheer frantic energy of Inside Out. Having said that, Pixar can probably now lay claim to being the greatest movie franchise of all time. Star Wars, Harry Potter, Problem Child… they can all take a backseat when driving with Pixar. For any other film studio, Coco would be a masterpiece, for Pixar, it barely troubles the top ten.
The criticism here is that while the destination is heart-warmingly beautiful, the journey is a little daft at times. Even allowing for the suspension of disbelief necessary for a children’s cartoon, the characterisation feels a little off, with some bizarre decisions never really justified. Miguel’s family and their utter hatred for music always seems completely unreasonable which renders the whole film a little off balance and despite it’s Oscar win, the music is bland and forgettable.
In the end, it can’t be denied that Coco packs a severe emotional wallop and it contains moments of mastery, but for Pixar Animations, this is just another film, not a masterpiece.