Pixar's transcendent fable Coco is filled with visual wonders. There's a band of skeletons in pink jackets and a winged, emerald-furred cougar. Yet like Inside Out, Coco offers not only vibrant colors and surreal visions, but a rapturous adventure.
It follows a young boy named Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) who lives in Mexico and dreams of becoming a musician like his long-dead idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Miguel's family disapproves of his guitar-filled dreams, but Coco isn't Footloose for musicians—it's a Dia de los Muertos odyssey that sends Miguel on a trippy trek to the afterlife, where he seeks validation from de la Cruz's fame-hungry ghost.
Director Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) imagines the Land of the Dead as a world populated by delightful mischief makers like Héctor (Gael Garcia Bernal), who enters the story disguised as Frida Kahlo.
Nestled beneath the film's cheery mayhem, however, is an overwhelmingly powerful meditation on memory, mortality and familial love. Miguel may make some extraordinary discoveries in the great beyond, but the most beautiful thing in Coco is his realization that the only place he wants to journey to is the home he left behind.
CRITIC'S RATING: 4/4 stars.
Coco is rated PG and now playing at Bagdad Theater, Bridgeport, Cedar Hills, City Center, Clackamas, Division, Eastport, Living Room Theaters, Lloyd, Milwaukie, Moreland, Oak Grove, St. Johns Twin Cinema & Pub, Tigard, Vancouver.