Genre: Animated Adventure/Comedy/Drama
Running Time: 105 mins.
Premise: Desperate to play music like his great-great grandfather, young Miguel ditches his decidedly anti-music family and, through a twist of fate, ends up in the land of the dead. There, he tries to reconnect with his ancestors and obtain their blessing to leave before time runs out and he becomes a permanent resident!
Behind-the-Scenes: Director Lee Unkrich previously helmed Toy Story 3 – one of the strongest Pixar efforts in my estimation. Pixar’s world was rocked earlier last week when John Lasseter (also an executive producer on Coco) took a leave of absence after sexual harassment allegations against him became public.
The Good: This is another triumph for Pixar. The animation is astounding. Rich and beautifully realized with great fluidity of movement. The characters are all lovingly rendered with exceptional detail and distinction in the skeleton character’s faces. The story is just as powerful as the visuals. It starts out amiable and engaging, but then zigs and zags in unexpectedly clever directions. The ending sneaks up and emotionally floors you (in a good way). I heard many a parent and child openly weeping in the theater. Strong voice work (the cast includes Gael Garcia Bernal and Benjamin Bratt) and authentic music.
The Bad: There is a 22-minute (!) Olaf “short” that precedes the movie. Who thought that was a good idea? It should have been a holiday special on ABC.
Should You See It?: Yes. This is easily the best animated movie of the year.
Star Rating: ****1/2 out of 5 stars.
Better Than: Finding Dory
Worse Than: Inside Out
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