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Lee Unkrich
Benjamin Bratt, Gael García Bernal, Alanna Ubach
Writing Credits:
Adrian Molina, Matthew Aldrich

Confronted with his family's ancestral ban on music, aspiring musician Miguel enters the Land of the Dead to find his great-great-grandfather, a legendary singer.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$50,802,605 on 3987 screens.
Domestic Gross
$206,323,103. MPAA:
Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Video 2.0
English Dolby 2.0
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:
Quebecois French

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/27/2018

• Audio Commentary with Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Director/Co-Writer Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson
• “Welcome to the Fiesta” Test Reel
• “Mi Familia” Featurette
• “Dante” Featurette
• “How to Draw a Skeleton” Featurette
• “A Thousand Pictures a Day” Featurette
• “The Music of Coco” Featurette
• “Land of Our Ancestors” Featurette
• “Fashion Through the Ages” Featurette
• “The Real Guitar” Featurette
• “Paths to Pixar” Featurette
• “How to Make Papel Picado” Featurette
• “You Got the Part!” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailers and Promos
• Sneak Peeks
• DVD Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Coco [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 18, 2018)

With 2017’s Coco, Pixar takes us to Mexico to meet Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a boy who aspires to become a musician. He plays guitar and idolizes deceased crooner Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt).

Unfortunately, Miguel’s family firmly disapproves of musicians, mainly because his great-great-grandfather abandoned his great-great-grandmother Imelda (Alanna Ubach) and her daughter, his great-grandmother Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía). After this, the Riveras maintained a “no music allowed” policy that Miguel seems determined to violate.

Although his grandmother Elena (Renée Victor) objects – and destroys his guitar – Miguel sneaks out to play in a local “Day of the Dead” talent show. In need of a new instrument, he “borrows” de la Cruz’s guitar from a mausoleum – and finds himself transported to the mystical Land of the Dead.

In this setting, Miguel needs to find a way to return to the Land of the Living. Under the belief that de la Cruz is his grandfather, he seeks out the musician and tangles with a needy skeleton named Hector (Gael García Bernal) along the way.

When Coco hit screens, some viewers noted an unmistakable resemblance to 2014’s Book of Life. Both take place in Mexico, both star young men who want to play guitar over the objections of others, and both spend much time in the Land of the Dead.

Fans tend to defend Coco and claim that these similarities remain superficial, but I disagree. While I won’t call Coco an overt copy of Book, it “remakes” the 2014 film a little more than I’d like.

Perhaps the similarities wouldn’t feel like an issue if Coco worked better than it does. While the movie offers a generally entertaining experience, I prefer Book and can’t claim Coco ever threatens to become an especially involving tale.

Some of the problems relate to plot holes, of which we encounter more than a few. I won’t discuss the specifics because they involve spoilers, but suffice it to say that some major story points make little sense.

And by “make little sense”, I mean these narrative choices stretch credulity and do so in an unnecessary manner. The plot problems that arise don’t need to exist, as the film could easily find other ways to progress.

The presence of these story concerns especially befuddles me given Pixar’s reputation. In general, they devote more time than other animation studios to the pursuit of getting story/characters “right”, so the sloppy narrative elements come as a real surprise.

Even without these odd lapses in logic, Coco simply feels predictable, a factor exacerbated by its connections to other films – and I don’t just mean Book of Life. Indeed, that’s not even the movie that most comes to mind as I watch Coco.

No – it’s actually 1985’s Back to the Future that offers the most obvious narrative influence. Marty and Miguel both play guitar. Marty and Miguel both get stuck in a place from which it’ll be hard to return.

Marty and Miguel both need to influence family members to get home. Marty and Miguel both start to “fade” when it looks like they’ll fail.

And so on. Just as I won’t call Coco a remake of Book, I also won’t claim it turns into a strict retelling of Future, but I sure do see strong similarities.

On the positive side, Coco impresses in terms of visuals, as the art and animation always remain top-notch. Pixar literally did tons of homework to get the Mexican settings on the screen, and these elements soar, especially when we see the dazzling fantasy realm.

Even with its flaws, Coco remains a perfectly watchable little movie – I just want more than “perfectly watchable” from Pixar, the studio that created so many truly memorable films. Coco beats bland fare like The Good Dinosaur but it doesn’t approach the levels of classics like Up or Inside Out.

The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B/ Bonus B+

Coco appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie delivered an excellent visual presentation.

As expected, sharpness soared. At all times, the film offered terrific delineation, without a smidgen of sharpness to be found along the way.

No signs of jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I saw no edge haloes. Of course, the computer-animated project lacked any form of source flaws.

In both its “real-life” Mexico and fantasy Land of the Dead settings, Coco boasted a broad palette that looked dazzling. The colors consistently seemed vivid and dynamic, as they virtually leapt off the screen.

Blacks appeared deep and dense, while shadows seemed smooth and clear. Everything about this image delighted.

Though not quite as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack worked pretty well – though it took a little while for the mix to kick to life. The first act offered a decent sense of environment but lacked a lot of real zing.

When Miguel entered the Land of the Dead, though, the soundscape managed to become more active. This was not done to an exceptional degree, though, as the scope still remained a bit restrained.

Still, the fantasy location allowed for a nice mix of auditory elements to crop up around the room, and a few more action-oriented scenes became reasonably involving. Music also worked well, as the score and songs used the various channels in a compelling manner.

Quality satisfied, with speech that always appeared natural and distinctive. A major aspect of the mix, music seemed full and rich as well.

Effects showed good accuracy and range, which meant deep bass as required. Though not a great soundtrack objectively, the audio of Coco fit the story.

Expect a slew of extras across this package’s two Blu-rays, and Disc One opens with an audio commentary from director Lee Unkrich, co-director/co-writer Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, research and influences, cast and performances, art, animation and visual design, music, editing and connected areas.

Usually Pixar commentaries provide a slew of insights, but this one feels more ordinary. While it gives us a generally positive overview of the film, it lacks real depth. This means it becomes a moderately informative chat but not one that enlightens in a substantial manner,

With Welcome to the Fiesta, we find a two-minute, 16-second reel. It offers a visual “proof of concept” test that shows the movie’s sets and characters. It’s mildly interesting but not especially exciting.

We can watch “Fiesta” with or without commentary from Unkrich, Molina and Anderson, as they explain the clip’s purpose. I recommend a viewing with the commentary, as it lets us understand what we see.

A featurette called Mi Familia runs 10 minutes and includes notes from Anderson, Molina, Unkrich, additional character art director Daniela Strijleva, set dressing lead Amy Allen, lighting concept artist Ernesto Nemesio, director of photography – lighting Danielle Feinberg, story supervisor Jason Katz, character art director Daniel Arriaga, co-writer Matthew Aldrich, production designer Harley Jessup, story artist Manny Hernandez, playwright/cultural consultant Octavio Solis, supervising animators Gini Cruz Santos and Michael Venturini, and actor Alanna Ubach.

“Familia” looks at research and character depiction. It offers a surprisingly rich exploration of these topics despite its brevity.

Next comes the six-minute, 14-second Dante. It features comments from Molina, Unkrich, Anderson, Katz, Feinberg, character modeling and articulation artist Alonso Martinez and story manager Michael Capbarat.

“Dante” examines more research and the depiction of the movie’s canine character. It turns into another useful overview.

Disc One winds up with How to Draw a Skeleton. It fills three minutes, 18 seconds and presents a tutorial from Daniel Arrigaga, as he shows us sketching techniques. This becomes a decent little lesson.

Disc One opens with an ad for Incredibles II. Sneak Peeks adds a promo for Star Wars: Forces of Destiny.

On Disc Two, most of the materials revolve around featurettes, and we launch with A Thousand Pictures a Day. It spans 20 minutes, three seconds and offers details from Unkrich, Molina, Anderson, Jessup, Feinberg, Hernandez, Katz, Arriaga, journalist/cultural consultant Marcela Davison Aviles and artist Maria Angeles.

“Day” looks at a Pixar research trip to Mexico and the impact this had on the production. Some of this offers good information, but much of it feels too self-congratulatory.

With The Music of Coco, we find a 13-minute, 12-second show that offers notes from Unkrich, Molina, Anderson, Venturini, composer Michael Giacchino, executive music producer Tom MacDougall, cultural music consultant Camilo Lara, music producer/composer/arranger Germaine Franco, sound designer Christopher Boyes, and actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

As expected, “Music” discusses that side of the film, with an emphasis on stabs at genuine Mexican fare. Like “Day”, we get some decent notes but too often the program praises the production for its “authenticity”.

Next comes The Land of Our Ancestors, a six-minute, 19-second reel with Unkrich, Anderson, Katz, Jessup, Arriaga, Feinberg, Molina, sets modeling artist Dave Strick, lighting concept artist Ernesto Nemesio, sets supervisor Chris Bernardi, and set dressing lead Amy L. Allen. “Ancestors” examines the design of the Land of the Dead. Despite some of the usual self-congratulation, this one becomes pretty informative.

Wardrobe becomes the focus of Fashion Through the Ages, an eight-minute, 39-second show with Venturini, Davison Aviles, Unkrich, Jessup, Strijleva, Arriaga, Cruz Santos, shading designer Ana Ramirez Gonzalez, cloth and simulation supervisor Christine Waggoner, choreographer/cultural advisor Maria Luisa Colmenarez, and cloth simulation digital lead David Eberle.

“Ages” discusses the movie’s costumes and methods used to animate them. It delivers a decent collection of insights.

Up next, The Real Guitar takes up three minutes, eight seconds and features Nemesio and guitar maker German Vazquez Rubio. They look at the design of the movie’s primary guitar and how Vasquez Rubio made a real version. This seems like a mediocre reel, as it’s too short to tell us much.

For a look at some of the filmmakers, we find Paths to Pixar: Coco. In this 11-minute, 44-second program, Molina, Ramirez Gonzalez, Franco, Nemesio, Alonzo Gonzalez, Arrigag, story artist Louis Gonzales, simulation coordinator Carolina Angel, animation designer Jesus Martinez, Up and Inside Out producer Jonas Rivera, assistant recording engineer Adrian Maruri, home entertainment coordinator Anthony David Duran, animator Manuel Zenon Rodriguez, and café service manager Vivian Rodriguez.

Those involved discuss how they came to Pixar as well as aspects of their cultural identities. A few good stories crop up, but we hear from so many participants that the tales lack depth.

We get a tutorial via How to Make Papel Picado. Ana Ramirez Gonzalez guides us through this two-minute, 19-second demonstration. It might be a fun activity for kids.

Finally, You Got the Part! goes for two minutes, 12 seconds and shows the moment when temporary voice actor Anthony Gonzalez learned her got the job to be in the formal film. It’s a cute little reel.

Seven Deleted Scenes run a total of 33 minutes, seven seconds – including optional introductions from Unkrich and Molina. All the sequences come to us as story reels, so they mix storyboards with temporary audio.

Quite a few interesting threads appear here, ideas that would’ve taken the movie down a variety of different paths – such as the plan to make Coco a full musical. We get alternate versions of characters as well and find some intriguing concepts in this good collection.

As noted, we can watch the scenes with or without introductions from Unkrich and Molina. They give us background for the segments as well as notes about what they changed and why the changed it. The filmmakers offer nice insights.

Trailers brings us five separate ads. We get clips for the US, Mexico, Brazil, Australia and a “web exclusive”. Entitled “Dante’s Lunch”, the “exclusive” provides unique footage and becomes the most worthwhile of this bunch. (The Brazilian trailer uses a lot of “Lunch”, which must’ve confused viewers who didn’t see any of that material in the released film.)

Lastly, a Promom called “Un Poco Coco” appears. It offers a three-minute, five-second compilation of dialogue-free tidbits that use the movie’s characters and situations. The snippets offer moderate entertainment.

One note about what we don’t find in this set: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the animated short that ran prior to theatrical screenings of Coco. “Short” doesn’t seem like the right term for Adventure, though – unlike the usual six or seven minute cartoon, it lasted 22 minutes!

I assume Adventure fails to show up here because Disney wants to release it as part of a separate Frozen-related package. Also, Pixar movies come with Pixar-created shorts, which wasn’t the case with Adventure, as Pixar had nothing to do with it.

A third disc provides a DVD copy of Coco. It includes the commentary and “Dante” but lacks the other extras.

One of the lesser Pixar films, Coco boasts excellent production values but its story feels rehashed. The movie reminds me of too many other flicks and never becomes especially involving or memorable. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture quality along with pretty good audio and a broad collection of supplements. Though not a bad film, Coco fails to become particularly compelling.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 9
3 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main