When aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) finds himself in the Land of the Dead, all he needs to return to the Land of the Living is a blessing from a family member, a magical marigold petal and a promise he’s not sure he can make. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
In Disney Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) teams up with charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael GarcÍa Bernal) on a life-changing journey through the Land of the Dead. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
In Disney Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) desperately wants to prove his musical talent. But when he strums the guitar of his idol, the late Ernesto de la Cruz, Miguel sets off a mysterious chain of events and finds himself—and his loyal dog Dante—crossing into the Land of the Dead via a breathtaking bridge made of marigold petals. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
In Disney Pixar’s “Coco,” aspiring musician Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) makes an impulsive choice that sets off a series of events that ultimately lands him in the Land of the Dead where he’s able to interact with his late family members. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
In Disney Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel’s love of music ultimately leads him to the Land of the Dead where he teams up with charming trickster Hector. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
In Disney Pixar’s “Coco,” Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like the celebrated Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). But when he strums his idol’s guitar, he sets off a mysterious chain of events. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar
Aspiring musician Miguel learns from the head clerk in the Land of the Dead's Department of Family Reunions that he’ll need a blessing from a family member to return to the Land of the Living. But Miguel’s great-great-grandmother MamÁ Imelda’s blessing comes with an unfortunate condition. “Coco” opens in U.S. theaters on Nov. 22, 2017.
Pixar

“COCO” — 3 stars — Voices of Anthony Gonzalez, Gael Garcia Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renee Victor; PG (thematic elements); in general release

While so many films build around a character’s personal quest to chase dreams, “Coco” takes a different angle, one that will ring especially true to anyone who has ever heard the reference about the hearts of the children turning to their fathers, and vice versa. “Coco” isn’t just family friendly — it’s family-centric.

The plot follows the story of Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez), a Mexican boy who travels to the Land of the Dead in search of a long-lost ancestor. Miguel aspires to be a musician, but unfortunately he comes from a family of shoemakers who despise music. A few generations earlier, Miguel’s great-great-grandfather left his family to pursue a music career, and his progeny have been trying to erase him from their bitter history ever since. Only Miguel’s great-grandmother Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia) remembers him, and her memory is fading fast.

Caught between his dreams and his loyalty to his family, Miguel tries to pursue the former on the sly while keeping the latter out of the loop. But when his domineering grandmother discovers his guitar and smashes it, Miguel finds himself without an instrument and no way to compete in an upcoming talent show in the nearby Mariachi Square.

So, on a dark evening during the annual Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival, Miguel steals into the crypt of the town’s legendary mariachi Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), hoping to nab the icon’s celebrated guitar from its shrine. But as Miguel hits his first chord, the instrument transports him to the Land of the Dead.

To return home, Miguel has to receive the blessing of an ancestor, but all the boy’s ancestors are angry about his musical aspirations and refuse to send him back unless he promises to give up his dreams. So Miguel decides to seek out the one ancestor who might be a little more sympathetic to his plight: the great-great-grandfather who started the bad blood in the first place.

“Coco” becomes a colorful and entertaining journey through both the Land of the Dead and the rich cultural tradition surrounding the Mexican Dia de los Muertos holiday. Along the way, Miguel meets a ghost named Héctor (Gael García Bernal), who helps the boy understand that to remain in the Land of the Dead, you must have someone in the Land of the Living who remembers you (and makes sure your image is preserved in the customary Ofrendas that are used for the holiday). Once that connection is broken, forgotten ancestors fade even from their postmortal existence.

True to Pixar form, “Coco” enhances its strong storytelling with brilliant visuals that inspire the imagination and, in this case, celebrate the Mexican culture. “Coco” is a wonderful film to see and experience, and in a year that has felt so mediocre in terms of family animation offerings, it’s an easy recommendation, even if it doesn’t quite reach the level of recent Pixar efforts such as “Inside Out.”

“Coco” is rated PG for thematic elements; running time: 109 minutes.