Rated PG, 109 minutes
The fun, colorful new animated film "Coco" revolves around the Mexican holiday Dia de Muertos, or Day of the Dead. Remarkably, but not unsurprisingly, the film bursts with energy and life, with a predictable yet sweet story that holds few surprises.
Despite his family's generations-old ban on music, young Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead. After meeting a charming trickster named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal), the two new friends embark on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
Part colorful adventure and part touching cultural event, "Coco" is Pixar's first Hispanic-themed animated film, and it's certainly an appealing one. The highlight is its exquisite visuals and lively music, which is done by the Oscar-winning team from "Frozen," Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who provide one of the year's more memorable cinematic tunes in "Remember Me," sung by Bratt in the film.
"Coco" is a moving tribute to the Hispanic culture, as it revolves around family and remembering the legacy of those who have gone on before. The film is directed with energy by Lee Unkrich, who directed the Oscar-winning "Toy Story 3," and is co-written by Pixar storyboard artist Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich. The storytelling itself is on the silly side and is filled with some familiar moments and messages, but it's also a nice bridge between the Land of the Dead and the Land of the Living that rarely feels scary or morbid.
With some sweet moments, "Coco" is sure to tug the heartstrings and provide a laugh or two, it's not Pixar's best nor its worst, landing somewhere in the middle of the pack. Also, it comes with the 20-minute mini film "Olaf's Frozen Adventure," which provides some brief adventures of the "Frozen" gang before the sequel comes out next year.