(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Coco. "Sunday Drive" by Silent Partner plays in the background)
Doug (vo): I don't think I've seen a movie like Coco where people were so ready to declare it a Disney classic the second it came out since probably Frozen. Critics loved it, people loved it, adults loved it, kids loved it, and...yeah, I have to agree, I'm on the same boat. Coco is not only visually amazing, but it's great with its characters, it's phenomenal with its music, its colors are unbelievable, the imagination is fantastic, it's funny, it's heartfelt, you'll laugh, you'll cry, it's kind of everything you want out of a movie. Which is funny, because the setup for this film, I usually hate.
Doug (vo): Miguel, a young boy in Mexico, loves playing the guitar and absolutely adores music. But his family...tell me if you heard this one before...doesn't like music because something happened in the past that makes them suddenly hate all music. So it's forbidden, but that can't stop Miguel from wanting to pursue it. Christ, I hate these kind of stories, I hate them to my core. I hate them because you know music isn't bad, you know the people that forbid it are gonna come around, and that's most of the focus, just someone trying to live their art and somebody else being a jerk until the very end. Thank heavenly God, though, that's not what this movie is focused on. It's actually more of a side thing. You see, Miguel has this fascination with his great-great-grandfather, who abandoned his great-great-grandmother, even leaving behind a three-year-old daughter, Coco. Coco doesn't remember much and doesn't even process much, she doesn't even always know who Miguel is. But nevertheless, they get along very well, and Miguel always tries to figure out more about his great-great-grandfather, who was a famous musician. When the Day of the Dead comes, however, he steals his great-great-grandfather's guitar, and that sends him all the way into the Land of the Dead. This world is amazing. It looks so grand, so gigantic, so colorful, you practically want to live there, or...die there, you know what I mean. He comes across a bumbling skeleton named Hector, and the two of them have to juggle, well, surprisingly a lot in this story, as they have to get the family's respect, they have to get back to the Land of the Living, looking Hector to the Land of the Dead, try to find Hector's* great-great-grandfather, while also unraveling this mystery, while also trying to stop people from forgetting who they are, because once somebody forgets who they are, then they disappear altogether.
*(Note: Doug meant to say "Miguel's great-great grandfather")
Doug (vo): It's surprisingly kind of complicated, which makes it all the more interesting that I actually followed all of it. And apparently, a lot of kids seem to follow it, too. The film is very good at holding your hand when it needs to hold your hand and letting it go when it needs to let it go. This plot could've so easily been too complicated, but I was amazed at how well I could follow along. This is also one of the few recent Disney stories that has a surprise villain, but it works. The setup isn't just to go "Gotcha!", it's to actually set up a connection between some of the other characters, and it works into what they were setting up before, and it furthers what's coming up next. A surprise villain can be fine, but it has to work into the story, and that's exactly what this one does.
(Several of the film's characters are shown)
Doug (vo): The characters are all so likeable. Even the ones that forbid music are still very likeable. They're so energetic, yet they all move differently in the different facial expressions and the different energies that they all have; it's just so great to watch. In most Disney movies, I can think of a comic relief that I don't like or a side character that gets too much attention, but here, everyone feels like they get just the right amount of screen time to be really enjoyable.
(Several scenes showing Miguel bonding with Coco are shown)
Doug (vo): It's funny, because everyone says they get teary-eyed at the end of this movie, and I get teary-eyed, too, but not at the scene you're thinking. For me, it's early on when Miguel just likes hanging with Coco, and Coco half the time doesn't even know who he is, but she just looks so happy and content and comfortable being around him, and he knows she doesn't know who he is, but he still wants to entertain her nonetheless 'cause he's just such a likeable character and...oh, my God! This gets me every time. It's just so sweet and it melts my heart.
(One scene focusing on Miguel and Hector performing a concert in front of a crowd of skeletons is shown)
Doug (vo): I guess if I really had to nitpick, the only scene I felt was a little pointless is when Miguel's performing in front of all these other dead people. It's not a bad scene, I just didn't entirely see the point of it, it didn't seem to connect with the rest of the story, where everything else really connects to the story. Maybe it was just an excuse to have another song, which, in a movie like this, I can kind of see why.
(Several of the film's musical sequences are shown)
Doug (vo): The music is a big part of it. The song that eventually won an Oscar, "Remember Me", is so good because they played in so many different ways. Early on, it's played as this big show number, this big, gigantic thing where there's, like, dancing women and fancy costumes and loud instruments. But then it can also be played as such a slow, soft, thoughtful song, and that's really where it shines, and that's where it was meant to be. It's so clever how this movie shows the different ways you can look at music like the different ways you can look at people, or life, or death. It's just...ah, damn it! It's so good! Now I feel like I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't bring up a film that was rather similar called Book of Life.
(The poster and images of the 2014 film, The Book of Life, is shown)
Doug (vo): This came out before Coco and it also has to deal a lot with music and Day of the Dead and this bright, colorful world. Honestly, when I saw Coco, the first thing that popped in my head is that this was gonna be a rip-off, but at the same time, I had to remind myself, it's kind of like seeing Santa Claus in a different Christmas movie. This is just kind of the day. Day of the Dead does have a very distinct look, and both these movies do pick up on it. And in comparing the two, Coco is by far the better movie, but I don't know. Is there a lot taken from this? Were they kind of looking at each other the same way Antz and Bug's Life was kind of keeping tabs on one another? I feel like for all the originality that's in this movie, I have to bring up a film that does have a similar visual style and ideas.
Doug (vo): Nevertheless, Coco still feels like its own thing. Visually, it's amazing, musically, it's amazing, the characters are amazing, the animation, the colors, it's all amazing. Based on its description for the plot and forbidding music and the surprise villain, I would think I would hate this film. But, much like the movie teaches, it's all about a different point of view. And the point of view this movie has, I know I'm gonna be watching a whole lot more in the future.
(The scene showing Miguel looking in awe at the Land of the Dead for the first time is shown)