Sound Off! Coco

Welcome back to Sound Off!, a semi-regular column where members of Speculative Chic gather together to chat about the latest BIG THING in entertainment. This time, remember your ancestors and discuss Coco, which premiered in the United States on Wednesday, November 22, 2017.

Sound Off! is meant to be a reaction, but not necessarily a review. After all, while we are all individuals, even mutual love of something (or hate) can come from different places: you may find everything from critique to fangirling to maybe even hate-watching.

Now, join Merrin and J.L. Gribble as they talk about Coco. [Note: Spoiler free!]

Merrin: I go into Pixar movies expecting to be blown away. They’ve set their own impossibly high standard for themselves, and, by whatever pact they’ve made with the devil to keep pulling it off, they keep one-upping themselves. Coco was no exception.

The story itself is cute and had a plot twist that I saw coming but was still completely endeared by. The music was glorious, and I haven’t stopped bopping and crying to “Proud Corazón” in my car. I just started thinking about the lyrics to that song again and teared up. I’m a mess, you guys.

I feel like I have so much to say in these reaction posts when I didn’t particularly like a movie and when I just adored it, I’m just rendered speechless. Some day I’m just going to submit the Kermit flail gif instead.

But this was so good, you guys. It was an epic hero’s quest with an animal companion and catchy tunes, pretty much the same formula Disney’s been making a mint on since Snow White. But nothing about that should give you pause, because a) a hero’s quest is an archetype for a reason, and b) what they did with the story was just so beautiful. Everything about this movie was just so flipping good.

I have no idea where Disney keeps finding these amazing child actors that no one has heard of before, but Anthony Gonzalez, who played Miguel and did his own singing, was phenomenal. There’s this part at the end, no spoilers, where he sings through tears that honestly had me gasping for breath because it was just so good and pure.

Speaking of casting, did you know Benjamin Bratt could sing? Because I did not. And not just the speak-singing that some actors get away with but actual singing. Like, holds a high note. I was very impressed.

Anyway, you should not need me to tell you this movie is good because honestly you should have already seen it. So go take care of that.

J.L.: Pixar has done it again. When this company sets out to create a story inspired by something as grand as a culture and as specific as a single family, rather than capitalizing on merchandizing opportunities, they shine. Coco has definitely become one of my top three Pixar films, easily soaring into the spot through a mixture of stunning visuals, exciting music, and excellent storytelling.

While I have absolutely zero Hispanic heritage, this film is filled to the brim with cultural folklore and symbolism, along with a healthy dose of Spanish strung into the dialogue (with no subtitles!), that was still completely accessible to me. I think this was because Coco never “talks down” to its viewers. There’s never any interruption to the flow of the story to explain the Day of the Death/Dia de los Muertos, or the significance of the fireworks and marigolds to the holiday, or the history of the amazing florescent spirit animals/alebrijes. (Do I now want my own giant flying cat? Yes. Yes, I do.) I hope this film starts a lot of conversations in families as kids and parents explore either their own cultural connection to the film or learn things entirely new to them.

This is still a movie for kids, and so I felt that a certain plot twist was telegraphed from a mile away. I’m also a bit over the conceit of idiotic animal companions in Disney films, especially since Dante the dog was simply annoying in contrast to the brilliance of Moana’s Hei Hei the chicken. Despite those mild critiques, Coco still had plenty of surprises for me to enjoy, and it’s a film I will look forward to adding to my Disney/Pixar collection.


  • Shara White November 28, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I can’t wait to see this!

    • Merrin December 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm

      I highly recommend you do it before you do anything else. That includes going to work.


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