COCO is One of the Best Movies You Will See in 2018

It’s pissing down with rain today and I am off to do a photo shoot then taking myself to the movies to finally watch COCO. Kernel Blake caught it over Xmas and here’s his review below. It should be noted it is only 9 days into 2018 and if you haven’t already seen it we have no issue in stating this will still be one of the best movies you will watch in 2018. Get thee to a cinema!! COCO is out now playing everywhere thanks to Disney Pixar. It is rated PG and runs for 105mins of pure joy. Enjoy Blake’s review………all the best……..Salty.


Just over 20 years ago, Pixar revolutionised animated films with the ground-breaking TOY STORY. For the next 15 or so years, the animation house pumped out hit after hit after hit, with cutting edge animation and brilliant story telling. In recent years, however, Disney-Pixar have more misses than hits. For every INSIDE OUT or WALL-E, there’s been more films designed to sell toys and merchandise than a convincing story. I’m looking at you, CARS series…

For their latest film, COCO, Pixar has brought in writer/director Lee Unkrich who helmed some of the company’s biggest films, including TOY STORY 2 and FINDING NEMO to name a few. Combining this with a film about family, spirituality and the afterlife gives promise that Pixar have gone back to their roots and delivered something special. But have they?


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COCO is Pixar’s first film set South of the border, in Mexico, with a full Mexican cast and set during the iconic Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. We’re introduced to the family history of young Miguel, with a tale of his great-great grandfather leaving his family to become the world’s greatest musician and in turn, bringing a ban on music to future generations of his family by his heartbroken great-great grandmother.

With this matriarchal ban in place, the family has turned to shoe making to make a living, however young Miguel has much bigger dreams of being a guitarrista and musician like his idol, Mexican musical superstar Ernesto De La Cruz. With preparations in place for the Dia de los Muertos festival, to celebrate the memory of dearly departed relatives, Miguel’s attempts to perform his music to an audience are thwarted by an angry grandmother, who destroys his prized guitar.

Miguel runs away from his family with his trusty sidekick Dante, a mangy street dog, and decides to steal the late De La Cruz’s guitar from his tomb, to fulfil his dream of being a músico. However, Ernesto De La Cruz’s famed guitar is cursed and young Miguel is whisked away to the underworld, where the dead are preparing to return to the land of the living to visit their long-lost families.



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This is Pixar at its best and already one of the films of the year, an entertaining, touching, funny and technological marvel of a film.


Upon finding that the only way to return to the land of the living is to have the blessing of a dead family member, Miguel meets resistance from his skeletal relatives, who will send him back only if he promises never to play music again. When informed that he only has until sunrise to cross back over or he will turn into a skeleton himself and be stuck in the underworld forever, COCO kicks into gear with Miguel needing a miracle to survive.

His last hope is the blessing from his musical great-great grandfather, someone he knows will give his blessing to a family member who wants to continue the musical traditions of his ancestors. From here COCO does use some familiar tropes of previous Pixar films, with a strong emphasis on family, lessons needing to be learned and a bad guy who seemed good initially. But like the best of Pixar’s catalogue, the way these ideas are used is what really makes COCO such a fun and engaging film, despite having one of the darkest subject matters in any of their films.


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COCO is not afraid to confront death and spirituality and also features, what I believe, is the first on-screen death of a character in a Pixar film. What it doesn’t lack is heart, with a compelling story, characters that are both sympathetic and funny and some of the most incredible production design yet from the animation company.

The underworld is an incredibly realised setting, with bright, vibrant colours combined with the character design of the dead themselves, each with unique traits and markings. Even on the relatively small screen I saw COCO in, I was blown away by how incredible it looked and how photorealistic some moments were. If you can see this in 3D and preferably in IMAX, you are in for a treat.


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Co-directors Unkrich and Adrian Molina (who also wrote many of the songs in the film) have done an amazing job of bringing Pixar back to the high level we expect of them. They have created an immersive world (and underworld) to get lost in and bring a heartfelt and incredibly touching story about family, music and honouring your ancestors.

Miguel is voiced by youngster Anthony Gonzalez who brings an innocence and strong determination to the character while also having to belt out some amazing songs during the film. He turns what could’ve been a whiny, annoying child into a strong-willed musician trying to find his way in the world and is the real heart and soul of COCO.

The rest of the voice cast is also strong with standout performances from Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Edward James Olmos and of course, Cheech Marin, because you can’t have a film set in Mexico without him. The soundtrack must get a special mention too, from the brilliant mariachi band Disney theme at the beginning to the many songs sung throughout the film, each bringing something different to the score.


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As you may have noticed from the previous paragraphs, I loved this film, it is Pixar back to doing what it does best. With a unique story, the best animation you will see and a story that will tug at your heartstrings, COCO is a triumph. With production taking 6 years(!) you can tell they took their time crafting a genuinely brilliant film. A word of warning though, like most of Pixar’s finest films, COCO was being shown in a very dusty cinema with many people chopping onions nearby….

This is Pixar at its best and already one of the films of the year, an entertaining, touching, funny and technological marvel of a film. It doesn’t pander to the toy buying crowd and goes for some deep and often dark moments. Great stuff.





Kernel Blake is a part-time beard bandit, philanthropist, industrialist….bicyclist…photographer, world traveller, movie lover, a man of few words who enjoys the finer things in life. Like reciting Snake Plissken quotes. And when all that fails, heads out to a racetrack to do skids. He can be found twatting @bcurrall80 and hipstergramming @bcurrall80

** All images courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor/publisher – credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.