An off the cuff review of COCO

We saw COCO. Certain Caucasian *dweebs* have been hissing malevolently about “cultural appropriation” relating to this film. *Some* Hispanic critics were concerned about it too, in advance of its release, because of the Day of the Dead, Dia de los Muertos, underpinnings of the story of this boy in Mexico having adventures with ancestors in the afterlife, finding clues about his family’s secrets, and more…But I think they’ve changed their minds by now–it’s a big hit in Spanish speaking countries–and every *actual* progressive person (that is, an actual progressive person is not ignorant–and only the ignorant think that culture is ever purely any one thing) should take their families to see COCO. It’s definitely a movie glorifying cultural diversity.This movie, keep in mind, is the most successful film of all time in those countries — partly because so much care was taken with the Spanish language dub, which apparently is far better than they usually get from American distributors.

Hopefully this film will calm remaining Hispanic critics, partly because its originating writer and co-scripter, co-director, and producer, is Hispanic, partly because all the voices are by Hispanic people, and partly because the music is written and performed by Hispanic artists, and partly because of its great fondness for this aspect of Mexican culture. Anyway, this excellent animated film has the true state of the art animation going–it’s some of the most startlingly real, startlingly detailed, startlingly well designed animation I’ve ever seen. It’s worth going to just for that. It’s visually gorgeous. You’re gonna love the spirit guide animals…And if you like Halloween or Day of the Dead imagery, or even, say, The Nightmare before Christmas, you’re going to enjoy the boneyard antics of this…

At first I thought the story was going to be a bit predictable–it seemed on that path. But then, a surprisingly well-hidden plot twist emerges, and another, and the story takes on new life just when I thought it might flag. They went to great trouble, as you may’ve heard, to animate the fingers of the characters playing guitar so that they were playing accurately, fingering properly for each note. And that kind of shows you the lively attention for detail and appreciation for culture in this film. Strongly recommended. I saw it with my wife and adult son and his girlfriend–had no little kids to take–plenty in it for grown ups. Has a great character for dog lovers too.

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