“Coco” is one of Pixar’s best films yet

Ladies and gentlemen…Pixar has done it again. One more time, they’ve crafted an original modern animated classic. In this instance, the movie in question is Coco, the latest Disney/Pixar outing to tug at heart strings and make you smile in equal measure. Opening this week, in time for Thanksgiving, it should probe to be another massive hit, both with audiences and also Academy voters. The critics are already on board, and rightly so. This is something truly special. There’s no way to fully prepare yourself for the emotional impact of this one, so just know that the company is going to make you cry once again.

The film is a family story, centering on young Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez), who yearns to play guitar. However, confronted with his family’s ancestral ban on music, that’s not a possibility. With the Day of the Dead festival on their minds, he cares more about music, but does wonder what in their history has made this hatred happen. Through some magic, he ends up in the actual Land of the Dead to work out the mystery, running into his relatives, as well as his musical idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Brett). Helped out by a spectral stranger in Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal), Miguel will discover many a family secret, while you will be moved to tears. Lee Unkrich co directs and co writes with Adrian Molina (also helping to script are Matthew Aldrich and Jason Katz), while the supporting voices include Alfonso Arau, Jaime Camil, Gabriel Iglesias, Cheech Marin, Edward James Olmos, John Ratzenberger, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor, and more. Michael Giacchino composes the score. Everyone seamlessly integrates themselves into the tapestry of this picture, putting forward wonderful work.

This animated tale is incredible. It’s visually sumptuous, musically creative, funny, and will absolutely make you weep openly before all is said and done. Unkrich has proven to be one of the best at Pixar, in terms of their directors, and here he proves it once again. Everything about it works in a big way. The emotions are so vivid too. How unexpected it all is just makes it a bonus. The less you know going in, the more affected you’ll be by the end. If it starts a bit on the slow side, it wraps up wonderfully, turning into another instant classic for the company.

Oscar should make this the runaway victor in Best Animated Feature. Aside from that, campaigns hopefully will be launched in Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (for Aldrich, Katz, Molina, and Unkrich), Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Score. Again, Animated Feature seems like a done deal, with Original Song (for Remember Me) not a hard get either, so it will be trying to either go above and beyond with Original Screenplay or pad it out with Original Score. If Coco can do either, then it will be one of the more nominated and honored animated films of our time. We shall see if it can pull that feat off in the end, but it’s certainly a possibility.

Here is how I would rank every Pixar outing so far:

19. Cars
18. Brave
17. Cars 2
16. Monsters University
15. Cars 3
14. A Bug’s Life
13. The Good Dinosaur
12. Finding Dory
11. Ratatouille
10. Monsters Inc
9. Finding Nemo
8. Up
7. Coco
6. Inside Out
5. The Incredibles
4. Toy Story 2
3. Toy Story
1. Toy Story 3

This weekend, audiences will be able to see another big time Pixar success story with Coco. It truly can stand tall as one of their ten very best outings to date. Not just an awards player or a kids flick, it’s a full cinematic meal for the entire family. Right up there with Inside Out and Up in terms of emotional fulfillment, this is amazing animation at its finest. Give it a look and see what all the fuss is about. Bring everyone on Thanksgiving, even. Once you take it in, you’ll understand what I’m talking about. Just remember to bring tissues…

Be sure to check out Coco, in theaters everywhere Wednesday!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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