Michael Scott

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Coco

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Movie: :4.5stars:
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




Video: :5stars:
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As I said in the 4K UHD review, I couldn't find any mention of the master's resolution for Coco on IMDB, but unofficially I saw mentions of a 2K master. Either way, the Blu-ray itself is nothing less than STUNNING, with glowing colors and razor sharp clarity that Disney/Pixiar is known for. Colors are simply amazing, with differing shades of neon tinged shades in the underworld, or the simple red of Miguel's jacket popping off the screen. Clarity and detail are mind blowing, with ever line of the face, ever crease in the grease paint Miguel uses as a disguise, and every different painted image for the festival. ALL of them distinct and clear, with little nuances to them that make them look as real as can be in an animated film. One thing I ALWAYS look at in animation is water. Water is probably the single hardest thing to get JUST right and look real, but when you look at De La Cruz's fountain at the party. That is pure perfection. The waves roll, the water shifts, and it is all as magical as can be. Blacks are deep and inky and I struggled to find even ONE artifact in the entire film! Simply put, pure digital wonder, straight from the digital tap.





Audio: :4stars:
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This Blu-ray release features a TON of different audio mixes (DTS-HD MA 7.1, DTS-HD HR 5.1, Dolby Digital 2.0, and ALL in English) for some weird reason. The regular Blu-ray was given a 7.1 DTS-HD MA track, while the 4K UHD was given a full Atmos track, but really, the differences between the Atmos track and the 7.1 mix are fairly slight as both mixes just aren'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 track 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. While this may sound eerily similar to my review of the Atmos track on the UHD disc, it's because the two tracks are so similar that it's very very hard to tell apart.






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 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English DTS-HD HR 5.1, English DD 2.0, French (Canadian), Spanish DD 5.1
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

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I wanted to see this in the theater but didn't have time. Will get this one. :)
 

R MacG

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These Atmos on 4k disc only titles are going to force my hand sooner rather than later!
 

bkeeler10

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Well I haven't even seen a trailer for this one yet, but I keep hearing great things. I'm sure we will be putting this on to watch with the family pretty soon. Thanks for the review.
 

leecreek

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I have not seen a trailer for it, either. In fact this is the first place I have seen anything about it. Thanks for the review.
 

JimShaw

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Great review and I agree 100%.

Watched it last night in 4K and I will definitely watch it again
 

BD55

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Nice review :T. Have been wanting to see this one, though my wife and I were concerned our kids might find it scary...
 

GFOviedo

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I’ve been wanting to watch this one with my kids, but my work schedule and budget cutbacks have made me work longer hours. I hope to get to watch it soon with them. It looks and sounds to be an awesome movie. Thank you for the excellent review.
 

Asere

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Thanks for the review. I've heard nothing but good things about this movie.The family will really enjoy it.
 

Sloth07

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Great review Mike! I had heard of this Day of the Dead film Pixar was working on for years, and when it finally came together and turned out to be Coco, it ended up amazing!
 

Todd Anderson

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Congrats Jeff S! You’re the winner!
 

tripplej

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Congrats. I am sure the family will enjoy. :)
 

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