“Coco” is a proud, glorious addition to the Pixar family: It’s a beautiful film with inventive animation and as many laughs as tears. (Oh, you’ll shed a tear or 20. But fear not, animal lovers: Miguel’s dog companion, Dante, survives the film.)
The story follows young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who dreams of becoming a musician like his hero, the legendary Ernesto de la Cruz. But, unfortunately, his family despises music because of his great-great grandfather, who shamefully abandoned his family to pursue a career in music.
Miguel isn’t content to become a shoemaker like the rest of his family, but since music is taboo, he has to play his makeshift guitar in secret. The only one who understands: Dante, a goofy stray dog who is the only one allowed in his secret shrine to his long-dead hero.
When Miguel ends up in the Land of the Dead, Dante goes with him as he tries to contact the late Ernesto to secure his blessing. He’s helped along the way by Héctor (Gael García Bernal), a sad figure who is in danger of fading away forever if no one puts his picture on the ofrenda, the altar families build each Day of the Dead to honor their ancestors.
Miguel has to dodge his dutiful ancestors (who also hate music) and find Ernesto before Day of the Dead ends, a quest that’s as funny and dramatic and heart-tugging as you’d hope from a Pixar film.
And the fanciful animal spirit guides he encounters there? If only they were real!
The filmmaking team has really outdone themselves on “Coco.” Bring your Kleenex, bring a friend, bring your kids, and definitely don’t miss this wonderful film.