When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. When I saw the trailer for Coco, my initial reaction was lukewarm at best: the premise felt thin, the voicework overly “Disney”, and the spectre of co-co-cultural appropriation implied either tone-deaf cringiness or (more likely) bland, committee-engineered inoffensiveness.
You guys. Coco is so good. It’s the sort of Pixar flick that does just about everything right. Wonderful set design, charming characters, a kid-friendly plot with just enough adult-friendly winking to keep things interesting (see: everything about Frida Kahlo). It’s smart and culturally sensitive without ever feeling Very Special Episode patronizing — it takes bold risks, and invites kids to really care about, and understand, its unfamiliar world. It’s moralizing in the most heartwarming, earnest way possible. And while it’s far more predictable (and, yes, “Disney”) than some of their more audacious movies, Coco’s is a cozy, instantly-nostalgic brand of predictability. The kind you want to watch, and rewatch, and melt in. Like a marshmallow in a cup of hot…ugh.