Michael Scott

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Coco

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Movie: :4.5stars:
4K Video: :4stars:
Video: :5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :4.5stars:
Final Score: :4.5stars:



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Movie


Disney/Pixar have long been known for a host of fantastic animated films, but never has one of their projects been this comfortable, and this different in feel, yet so familiar and relatable in tone. Coco runs well on its premise of a young boy visiting the land of the dead (ala The Book of Life), but it’s most heartfelt and powerful thread happens to be the story of a father trying to reconcile and see his aging daughter once more. The title may throw you for a loop after you’re introduced to the main characters, as Coco is the name of the near senile matriarch of the whole Rivera family, but it makes much more sense when the underlying threads of family and loss come through later on in the film. It’s sweet, kind, sometimes a little predictable, but oh so incredibly emotional when Disney/Pixar brings it home for the heart warming final 10-15 minutes.

The Rivera family have been shoemakers for as long as Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) can remember. His father was a shoe maker. His Tia’s were all shoemaker’s, his grandmother Abuelita (Renee Victor) have been shoemaker’s. But they were not ALWAYS shoemakers. A long time ago, his great great grandmother and grandfather were both musicians, but his great great grandfather left his great great grandmother to go on the road and his live his musical dream, leaving his wife to raise their daughter, Coco, all alone. Now NO ONE in the Rivera family is allowed to listen to, play, or even ASSOCIATE with music via bitter revenge on the man. However, young Miguel has a secret. He loves music and desperately desires to be one if he can.

The Dia De Muertos is approaching fast, and on that day every Mexican family puts up photos of the dead and honors those who have come before ,and their photos allows the dead to cross over between divides and their spirits can visit those who have put up the photos. Well, Miguel isn’t exactly enamored with the concept of family and togetherness, and decides that he’s going to go down to the talent competition for the Dia De Muertos and play music in public for the first time. The only problem, he’s got no guitar. But when Miguel looks in an old photo and notices that his father’s guitar is the SAME guitar as the famous Mariachi singer Ernesto De La Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) the young boy puts two and two together and realizes that his long lost great great grandfather was the most famous Mariachi singer in all of Mexico. Stealing his great great grandfather’s guitar for the contest, Miguel is suddenly transported to the real of the dead (stealing from the dead on the day of the dead is kind of a no no), where he has to get back to the land of the living before sunrise, or be permanently stuck there.

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Coco seems like a fairly straight forward child adventure at first. I was kind of puzzled by naming the film Coco instead of Miguel, as Miguel seems to be the main character. In the underworld he’s searching for the dead spirit of his De La Cruz to send him back to the realm of the living, but it’s not until he meets a poor dead spirit named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) who just wants to be remembered by his family that the pieces start falling into place. In fact, this is the ONE downside to the whole film. The “secret twist” that Disney/Pixar is trying to keep from the audience till the end was guessed in about 20 minutes flat by myself and my viewing guests. It’s not detrimental, but it isn’t as much of a surprise as Pixar laid out the hints pretty thick and heavy.

Even though Coco is a blast, I was slightly worried about the authenticity of the Hispanic cultural more s, as I live down in the Southwest and have lived them my whole life. Luckily the powers that be spent a great time researching all of the little intricacies of their cultural in their latest endeavor. The Day of the Dead, the masks, the paint, the spirit guides, and the importance of family all ring true in traditional hispanic culture, and the film is that much better for that authenticity. The sweet lingering “gold” thread of family weaves itself through the story, and no matter if someone is in the right, or in the wrong, THAT is the emotional grounding point of the whole experience. I will fully admit to snuffling like a baby when Miguel actually gets home and tries to save the last memory of his great great grandfather from fading from existence, and it stands as one of the best Pixar finales I’ve seen.





Rating:

Rated PG for thematic elements




4K Video: :4stars: Video: :5stars:
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Coco comes to 4K with a nice looking digital image that was taken from presumably a 2K master (IMDB is silent, but a couple of other internet sources made mention of a 2K master by Disney) and it looks stunning on Blu-ray (one of the best I’ve seen). As is the case with many 4K UHD upgrades from animated sources, the 4K upscale isn’t as picture perfect as one would hope, but is still an amazing looking image. I had a real difficult time choosing between a 4/5 rating or a 4.5/5 rating, but in the end went with the 4/5 because the differences between the Blu-ray and the 4K wasn’t THAT wide. Colors are simply marvelous, with bright orange layers for the magical flower petals, and the lavishly designed Dia De Muertos costumes just popping from every angle. Blacks are deep and inky in the underworld, and the contrasting neon shades for the spirit guides are simply mesmerizing. The levels of details are still just as exquisite as the Blu-ray, but I had a harder time noticing much difference in the detail levels between the two formats. However, the real treat is watching those colors dazzle with the use of HDR, as the saturation and pizazz from the cornucopia of varied colors is simply amazing. Again, the clarity difference isn’t wild between the two formats, but the use of HDR and the higher definition in the black levels makes this a solid upgrade.





Audio: :4stars:
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This 4K UHD release features a TON of different audio mixes (Atmos, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1, and Dolby Digital 2.0, ALL in English) for some weird reason, but the main one we’re going to be focusing on is the Dolby Atmos track. The regular Blu-ray was given a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, but really, the differences between the Atmos track and the 7.1 mix are fairly slight. The mix just isn’t a gigantic powerhouse in dynamic range, overhead usage, OR LFE. It is more than capable, and a great sounding track, but it just doesn’t push the next generation (or even the 7.1 older generation) setups to its max. Dialog is crisp and cleanly replicated in the front of the room, and the surrounds get a lot of fun usage when Miguel goes to the land of the dead. The swooshing of the spirit guides swirls around you, and the clattering of the different characters during the Day of the Dead parade is quite engaging. LFE is punchy and strong with fireworks, but the most power definitely comes from the mid bass region during the musical numbers. It’s a good mix, and a great track, albeit I would have loved to have seen more dynamic range and heavy LFE usage.






Extras: :4.5stars:
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• Deleted Scenes with Introductions - Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of "Coco."
- Día de los Muertos - In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.
- The Way of the Riveras - A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.
- Celebrity Tour - Héctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.
- The Bus Escape - The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.
- Alebrije Attack - Miguel and Héctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije.
- The Family Fix - After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home.
- To the Bridge - As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Día de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.
• Filmmaker Commentary – Presented by Lee Unkrich (director), Adrian Molina (co-director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer).
• The Music of "Coco" - Collaborating with musicians of Mexico and some unique instrumentation, this documentary explores the beautiful fusion of music essential to the story of "Coco."
• Paths to Pixar: "Coco" - Explore how the film crew's personal stories resonate with the themes of the movie itself.
• Welcome to the Fiesta - A musical exploration of the skeletons that make the Land of the Dead in "Coco" so wondrous and intriguing.
• How to Draw a Skeleton - Pixar artist Daniel Arriaga gives a lesson on the quick and easy way to draw skeletons using simple shapes.
• A Thousand Pictures a Day - Join the "Coco" crew on an immersive travelogue through Mexico, visiting families, artisans, cemeteries, and small villages during the Día de los Muertos holiday.
• Mi Familia - Developing the Riveras was a labor of love that took the cast and crew on a deep dive into the meaning of family.
• Land of Our Ancestors – Watch Pixar artists lovingly construct layer upon layer of architecture from many eras of Mexican history, bringing the Land of the Dead to life.
• Fashion Through the Ages – The cast of characters in "Coco" are from many different eras, making for some magnificent costuming opportunities.
• The Real Guitar – The majestic guitar that spurs Miguel on his journey through the Land of the Dead is a unique creation. Watch as it is initially designed by a Pixar artist and ultimately realized as a real instrument by a master luthier in this poetic ode to craftsmanship.
• Dante - How the crew fell in love with the uniquely Mexican breed of Xoloitzcuintli (or "Xolo") dogs that inspired Dante.
• How to Make Papel Picado - Join Pixar artist Ana Ramírez González as we learn how papel picado is made traditionally, and then try your own approach to this beautiful art form.
• Un Poco "Coco" - A montage of original animated pieces used to promote "Coco."
• "Coco Trailers" - Trailers include "Feeling," "Dante's Lunch," "Destiny," "Journey" and "Belong."








Final Score: :4.5stars:


Coco is another hit for Disney/Pixar, and it follows in their tradition of forging new territories, and new human issues to tackle. Family has ALWAYS been a big theme in these movies, but it’s the new locale, and the new angle that really makes it sweet and memorable. I loved the Hispanic culture absorption, and while I DID see some of the plot twists coming, the ending proves once again why Disney/Pixar are kings of the animated world. If you have a dry eye by the time the last 10 minutes wrap up then you’re a much stronger person than I am. The audio is great, and the video is just as excellent, and Disney has seen fit to give us one of the best extras packages in quite some time. HIGHLY Recommended.






Technical Specifications:

Starring: Benjamin Bratt, Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal
Directed by: Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina
Written by: Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 HEVC
Audio: English: Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 Core), English Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, English Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish, French Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Rated: PG
Runtime: 105 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: February 27th, 2018






Recommendation: Highly Recommended

 
Last edited:

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. Another hit for Disney/Pixar
 

JBrax

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We’ve been looking forward to Coco and will be having family over for the viewing. BUY! :greengrin:
 

Todd Anderson

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I'm waffling about which version to buy... my projector set-up might look fantastic with the Blu-ray. Tough call with these animated flicks.
 

JBrax

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I always go with the 4K version because the price difference is usually nominal and you get both copies.
 

Todd Anderson

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Good point Jeff...

I guess I was questioning about the benefit of 4K for an animated flick (which typically look jaw dropping in HD). I guess I'll have to look at cost.
 

Michael Scott

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get the 4K. It has both the Blu-ray AND the 4K + a the special features disc. Best of both worlds
 

Michael Scott

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Thanks for the kind words Ralph. Good to see ya over here :greengrin:
 

JBrax

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Had family over last night and had a blast with Coco. Great movie and a worthy addition to the library.
 
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