Movie: Coco (2017)

[ random movie time ]
remember me, though i have to say goodbye


Disney-Pixar’s Coco is the kind of movie that inspires you to create. Sitting here writing this down, I want to draw the protagonist Miguel and his family and his dog. I want to dance to Mexican tunes and stare at some Frida Kahlo. I want to break out and sing Remember me (badly), and I want to visit my own abuela and ask her for more stories.

It’s hard to contain what Coco is into words. The trailer (which I watched ages ago and promptly forgot) revealed next to nothing on what the movie will be about, and rightly so. I think it’s hard to condense the movie’s story and then box it into a genre. At its heart, Coco is a family movie that may or may not make you cry. (It made me cry). On top of that, you’ll get a daring race-against-time adventure, a fantasy, and a classic telenovela-style surprise plot.

If someone already recommended you this movie (count me as a solid recommendation), but you’re hesitant because (a) it’s animated, (b) you’ve never heard of it before this moment, or (c) some other reason I can’t think about — don’t. Don’t hesitate. Go watch it.

Some of my enjoyment stems from the familiarity. The quaint fictional town in Mexico has a lot of cultural similarities with us here in the Philippines (for example: a mad mama throwing her sandal at you in a fit, a passionate love for telenovelas, and what looks like saturated, sweltering heat).

The whole movie was set on a special night –Day of the Dead, or Dio de Muertos, and the picture of thousands of families gathered around their own altars and at cemeteries echoed my own experience.

But independent of the recall, the film is objectively and definitively great. Another round of applause to the concept team, the artists and animators, the texture artists, the musicians, the scriptwriters. Without going too much into it, the world-building was spectacular and immense. The aesthetics were beautiful, and the most minute details were well-thought and executed. The atmosphere of the film was reflective of reality and immersive of the fiction.

Surprisingly, Coco (2017) leaves you with philosophical and existential questions to think about. Characters echo down the movie “vive tu momento” (seize your moment), but they also wonder: at what cost? The film’s first conflict was the family’s refusal to support the protagonist’s passion for music. So what does it mean to be a family? To sacrifice your own interests for the sake of tradition, or to support and love each individual unconditionally?

The film talks about our own personal histories and memories. It asks what legacy we want to leave and how we want to be remembered. It could get you thinking about the people we’ll eventually leave behind, and the fantastical adventures you’ll have in the afterlife.

It’s a bit sad and a lot hopeful; a magnetic confrontation with the concept of life, legacy and death that only a well-written family film can do. The boy and his great-grandmother sing a soulful “Remember me…” in the end. I don’t think there’s any question that we will.

Side note on The 30th mall — I like the cinemas with the reclining chairs better than the ones without. The ones without had a worse sound system, or maybe that’s just me. 

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