Coco is a reminder of what Pixar magic is. That being the ability to hit you with an ending so flawless, you will remember it for as long as you live.
Talented guitarist Miguel Rivera comes from a family of successful shoemakers, one that despises music because Miguel’s great-great-grandfather abandoned them to pursue a music career. After his family forbids him to participate in a music competition and breaks his guitar, Miguel runs away and steals the guitar of legendary singer Ernesto de la Cruz. Upon strumming the instrument, Miguel is inexplicably transported to the land of the dead and there, he meets several of his deceased relatives, including his great-great-grandmother Imelda. When they also reject his dreams of becoming a musician, and would only send him back to the world of the living on the condition he abandons his dreams, Miguel flees and decides to look for his great-great-grandfather. He has until sunrise to do so, failure of which he would be trapped in the land of the dead forever.
To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to Coco. I’m mentally trapped in the late-2000s, you see, when there was always just that one Pixar movie to look forward to every summer. To me, the new year-end ones are … secondary? They wouldn’t be bad, this is Pixar we’re talking about. But these would still be, hmm, secondary? Nothing to get hyped up about.
Oh wow. This one easily beats any Pixar release since Toy Story 3. Yes, even Finding Dory. The visuals. The music. And yes, that distinct, oh-so-unforgettable Pixar storytelling style.
It’s how gags, twists, and action contribute so immaculately to one perfect climatic scene. When everything works their way so seamlessly into final place then hits you with incredible poignancy. The same happened with Wall-E, Toy Story 3, and way back, during that legendary bedroom scene of Monster Inc. In the face of such potency, there is just no resistance. The story completely engulfs you and you will feel, you will believe what it wants you to. Is this the pinnacle accomplishment of effective storytelling? What all storytellers should aspire towards?
How could anyone say no.
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