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(image credit: Disney Pixar)

Arts & Entertainment

“Coco”: Death is an After Party

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Sure, the concept of death can be scary to us, but Disney has always been obsessed with featuring in their movies the idea of loss and how their characters cope with it. However, the idea of life after death has never been fully explored before by Pixar; not until now. So far, Disney Pixar’s “Coco” might be the best example of how death has never been more present, literally.

“Coco” tells the story about a Mexican boy called Miguel who wishes to become a famous musician, yet music is forbidden in his family. The reason is traced back to his great-grandmother whose father abandoned her to follow his dreams of becoming a singer-songwriter, thus originating the hatred towards music in Miguel’s family.

On the Day of the Dead (ancient Mexican tradition), Miguel confronts his family but gets trapped on the Land of the Dead, an exciting, beautiful yet dangerous place habituated by those who have left the Land of the Living. Miguel must try to find the way back to the Land of the Living with the help of his ancestors while also proving his musical talents.

With great characters, amazing plot, beautiful scenery, a warm final message about the importance of family and astonishing musical score, “Coco” is the perfect example of Pixar’s moviemaking; however, what really pushes it over the edge is the absolutely gorgeous and breathtaking animation style of the film. The streets and colors that the animators used as an inspiration for the film are exactly those you would find if you were to visit Mexico.

It is great to see that popular places in Mexico as well as well-known Mexican celebrities were included in the film or inspired the creation of characters in it. Those familiar with Mexican culture will find themselves amazed to find the similarity between the antagonist Ernesto de la Cruz with real-life Mexican superstars Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, well known for their beautiful singing ability and starring roles in classic Mexican films.

“Coco” becomes even more marvelous when you see the perfect depictions in the scenery used for the Land of the Dead, that is somehow similar to those narrow streets and plazas in Guanajuato or to churches like the Iglesia de Angangueo in Michoacan. Just as it is depicted in the film, Mexico is full of beautiful traditions, colorful streets, delicious food, music that it is ear-catching and strange people that somehow become family. Love, happiness, family, culture and tradition are the five words that describe perfectly what “Coco” means to all those who were lucky to be born in the wonderful place that it is Mexico.

Despite the annoying Disney “short” Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, racist comments in social media towards the film and the issue revolving its similarity with the Book of Life, “Coco” has surely made it to most people’s Top Ten Movie List of 2017 and has easily surpassed “Justice League” on this week’s Box Office as the third best Thanksgiving holiday opening ever trailing other Disney titles like “Frozen” and “Toy Story 3.”

Whether you are somehow familiar with Mexican culture or not, Pixar’s film “Coco” surely teaches all of us that the Day of the Dead and death in general are never about saying goodbye. They are about never forgetting and always remembering our loved ones. To treasure all those memories and stories that were left with us, but most importantly to share those memories with our family’s future generations.

Samantha Aguilar Hernandez
Sam is communication major with minors in digital media / video production and marketing. She enjoys watching animated shows and writing about them for the Arts and Entertainment section of The Penmen Press. When she is not working on a new review, Sam can be found in the RadioSNHU booth conducting the first show in Spanish.