Movie Review: Coco

DON'T let the trailers fool you into thinking this is a rip-off from The Book of Life animated film that focuses on the afterlife.

While the focus in Coco may be on the same Mexican holiday – Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), its main message is essentially about the importance of family.

The story revolves around 12-year-old Miguel (voiced by Gonzalez), who wishes to become a musician just like his idol, the late legendary Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt).

However, Miquel faces a stumbling block. Music is banned in his family. His great-great grandfather had turned his back on his family to pursue a music career, leaving his great-great grandmother Mama Imelda to fend for herself and her daughter by learning to become a shoemaker, eventually starting a successful shoemaking dynasty.

Imelda banned music from the household, and this has been strictly enforced since then, with Miguel's grandmother Abuelita (Renee Victor) enforcing the ban with some shoe throwing.

Miguel's favourite family member is his great-grandmother Coco (who barely talks), whom he shares everything with.

On the day of the annual Dia de los Muertos – when the dead can cross over and see their loved ones again – Miguel, who has been secretly practicising on a guitar, wants to enter a local talent show held that evening.

When Abuelita finds out and breaks his guitar, he runs away.

Desperate for a guitar, he breaks into a museum housing Ernesto's guitar but the moment he takes it, he is transported into the world of the dead where he meets his long-departed family members, including Imelda who still tries to stop him from playing music.

Desperate to earn the blessing of a family member so that he can return to the living world, and convinced that Ernesto is in fact his great-great grandfather, Miguel sets out to find this superstar, who, as it turns out, is a superstar in the afterlife too.

Helping him is Hector (Bernal), an ex-musician who has tried for years to return to the world of the living to see his daughter again.

With its vivid colours (check out the bridge of flower petals connecting the world of the dead and living), hummable songs such as Remember Me by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez of Frozen fame, and its 'cast' of well-fleshed-out characters, Coco stands on its own as a highly-entertaining movie.