Earlier this month my son and I headed to Walt Disney Animation Studios in Los Angeles, California to screen Disney Pixar COCO. I am overjoyed about this new magical movie. Disney Pixar has created a timeless film, that is important and symbolic for the Latino community.
Thank you Disney Pixar for inviting me to screen COCO. All opinions are my own.
About Disney Pixar COCO
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
About Dia De Los Muertos (Day Of The Dead)
Mexico is a place of rich culture, traditions, and artistic expression. The celebration of Dia De Los Muertos is a perfect example of this.
“Dia De Los Muertos” is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico. It includes the creation of private altars called ofrendas. These decorated altars honor the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these gifts.
COCO depicts the authentic sight and sounds of this beloved celebration. The film also showcases traditional food, pueblo life, and music that fills the air during festivals like this one.
“As soon as we decided that we wanted to tell a story that takes place in Mexico, we immediately booked our first research trip,” says director Lee Unkrich. “Over the course of three years, we visited museums, markets, plazas, workshops, churches, haciendas and cemeteries throughout Mexico. Families welcomed us into their homes and taught us about the foods they enjoy, the music they listen to, their livelihoods and their traditions. Most importantly, we witnessed the importance they place on family.”
The story takes place in Santa Cecilia. It resembled many pueblitos that I have traveled to in and around Mexico. There were so many little details that Disney Pixar included. There were rustic cobblestone roads, street vendors, and stray dogs that roamed the streets.
Art director Bert Berry said, “We wanted to play up the beautiful patina of the older architecture. Our hope was to depict Santa Cecilia as an older charming city, and we used aged building materials such as chipping plaster, hand-painted tile and signage, and cobblestones to accentuate the history and appeal of the town.”
This film also showed the importance of familia in the Mexican culture. It is relatable, and the characters resembled my own tias, tios, and primos (aunts, uncles,and cousins).
There were many heartwarming and memorable moments that made me think of my loved ones that have past on. My son said, “Mom I’m trying not to cry.” It was so sweet to see his reactions and how moved he was by the story.
Most importantly, I am thrilled that Disney has created a film that my son can identify with the characters and the community. In fact, I thought he looks a lot like Miguelito.
The music was delightful and entertaining..
I was elated when I noticed that Ernesto de la Cruz’s character looks so much like Pedro Infante, a famous musician and actor in Mexico.
According to film producer Anderson, the authenticity was important. Filmmakers wanted to ensure that the film’s music not only sounded genuine, but looked genuine, too. “We used footage of musicians as reference so that when Miguel strums his guitar, it looks right. We recruited a number of talented musicians from Mexico whose ability to pour their hearts into this music makes all the difference in the world.”
Disney definitely did their homework, and were so respectful to the traditions and the culture.
“Día de Muertos is like a big family reunion that spans the divide between the living and the dead,” says director Lee Unkrich. “But it isn’t about grieving; it’s a celebration. It’s about remembering those family members and loved ones who’ve passed, and keeping them close.”
This sensational film celebrates the beauty of life and death, and gives moviegoers a glimpse into a rich culture and el sabor de Mexico. Go see it with your entire familia…