FRED Watch Quickie Film Review: Coco (2017)


I’m a Fulya Kantarmaci and welcome to FRED Watch, where we review everything from the mainstream to the obscure. Today’s film is Disney Pixar’s Coco

Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation Studios

A young boy with a dream to becomes a musician. Unfortunately, his family forbids it…

Miguel Rivera (Anthony Gonzalez) loves playing the guitar, teaching himself by watching his favourite musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) on video. Sadly, he’s had to do this in secret because his family has banned music in their place so he can’t reveal his passion to them. This ban has been set way back when Mamá Imelda (Allanna Ubach) was alive. Her husband left her and their daughter Coco behind to become a famous musician. Because he chose music over family, Imelda decided that there will no longer be a music presence in their household and started a shoe making business. To the present day, the Rivera family still make shoes but Miguel’s passion lies in music.

On Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), Miguel accidentally damages a picture frame on the family ofrenda—a photo of Mamá Imelda, Mamá Coco, and a headless man (assumedly the husband). Miguel then discovers a folded in section of the photo which revealed to him a guitar once belonging to Ernesto de la Cruz! He quickly works out that Ernesto was his great great grandfather and goes to the village plaza to register to participate in a talent show. Unfortunately, his Abuelita (Renée Victor) destroyed the one guitar he had made for himself earlier that day. So, he decides to break into Ernesto’s mausoleum and “borrow” his guitar for the talent show. The moment he strums the guitar, he is immediately invisible to everyone in the village plaza and realises he can see skeletal people, including some of his dead relatives. This means, he is now in the Land of the Dead. Miguel quickly learns that he is cursed and must return to the Land of the Living otherwise he will be stuck there. The only way he can return is if he receives a blessing from one of his dead family members before sunrise. Mamá Imelda is happy to give him her blessing, however she had one condition: that Miguel ceases to continue his musical path. This doesn’t sit well with him so he runs off into the Land of the Dead to find his great great grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz to receive a blessing from him.

On his journey, Miguel bumps into Héctor (Gael García Bernal), who says that he knows Ernesto well and that he will take him to Ernesto in exchange for having his photo taken to the Land of the Living, placed on the family ofrenda so he can visit his daughter before she forgets him.

This is the first film that has an all-Latino principal cast and a great representation of Mexican culture. The music, the characters, even the landscapes and architecture transport you to Mexico. During pre-production, Lee Unkrich (from whom the idea of the film was based) and some of the filming crew, visited the colourful country on a research trip to get a better idea of what Mexico was all about. I absolutely love how they incorporated the colour schemes of the buildings and used it to their advantage throughout the movie. This animated feature film widens your eyes to all the colours and textures, especially in the Land of the Dead. Because the film is based on the Day of the Dead celebrations, the Land of the Dead is set overnight and you can see how vivid the colours are here.

The characters in Coco are wonderful! I enjoyed Gonzalez’s performance as Miguel and the fact that he is a young mariachi singer himself is just amazing! What a talented boy! Bernal is probably my favourite of the voice actors. His performance as Héctor was very funny and genuine. There are a few small-part characters that also made me smile (and cry)—Clerk (Gabriel Iglesias), Frida Kahlo (Natalia Cordova-Buckley), and of course Chicharrón (Edward James Olmos).

The music is wonderful and made me feel like I was in Mexico! From what I learnt in the behind the scenes section of the DVD’s bonus features, there are quite a lot of genres in the Mexican music and most of them were included on the soundtrack.

But can I just say how much I loved the story? The story is not really about the music, it’s about family and it is so beautiful. To be able to watch a movie that encapsulates the essence of what it means to be family melted my heart and yes, I shed some tears.

This is a movie to be watched with family and friends. The kids will love the adventure and colours, and the adults will love the story and music. I wholeheartedly recommend Coco to everyone! And remember to love your family. 5 / 5


Starring: Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Edward James Olmos, Alfonso Arau, Selene Luna, Dyana Ortellí, Herbert Sigüenza, Jaime Camil, Sofía Espinosa, Luis Valdez, Lombardo Boyar, Octavio Solis, Cheech Marin, Carla Medina, Blanca Araceli, Natalia Cordova-Buckley, Salvador Reyes, John Ratzenberger, Libertad García Fonzi, Antonio Sol.

Director: Lee Unkrich | Producer: Darla K. Anderson | Writers: Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich; Story: Lee Unkrich, Jason Katz, Matthew Aldrich, Adrian Molina | Music: Michael Giacchino | Cinematographers: Matt Aspbury (camera), Danielle Feinberg (lighting) | Editor: Steve Bloom


Available: Google Play.

Let us know what you thought of this film in the comments!


I’ve been a Fulya Kantarmaci and you’ve just experienced FRED Watch.

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