Pixar Celebrates Mexican Culture with “Coco”

Marlem Reyes, Reporter

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Creating a cinematically beautiful and universal story anybody can relate to while focusing on a single culture is no easy feat, but Disney Pixar does just that in the movie “Coco”.

The directors, Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina (original script writer), wanted to capture Mexican culture accurately and respectfully and took the task very seriously. The “Coco” team took several trips to Mexico and based animation heavily on towns in Oaxaca and Guadalajara.

The story inspired by Día de Los Muertos, a day of remembrance of family members, is exceptionally detailed. From cempasuchil flowers to alebrijes to the way grandma dresses and scolds, Pixar made sure “Coco” would present Mexican culture proudly, strengthening their Latin fan base.

People speculated the movie would be similar to “The Book of Life” (2014). Both movies are set around Dia de Los Muertos yet the storyline is completely different and the themes are contrasting. The minor similarities did not take away from “Coco”s plot. 

Mexican heritage was present in all aspects of the movie, some characters based on the celebrities from Mexico’s Golden Age such as Pedro Infante and Vicente Fernández.

While the movie was not a musical, like many of Disney’s films, it was centered around a musical theme. The protagonist, a small boy from a rural town who loves music, searches for his family’s blessing after generations of musical disapproval. The music of Mexico was at the heart of the story, including varieties of guitar and band music.

The film was a classic Disney Pixar tearjerker, and from the creators of “Toy Story 3” what could we expect?

Yet one complaint moviegoers expressed prompted Disney to take action.

After settling in, popcorn in hand, people were ready to view “Coco”. A few minutes into the feature film, “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”, moviegoers questioned whether they were in the right theatre, ten minutes in people are really confused. A parent actually leaned over and asked me, “Is this “Coco”?”

The “featurette” was a whopping 21 minutes long, while the typical Disney short is 2-5 minutes long. “Coco” actually began showing 40 minutes after the posted showtime.

Disney is reportedly pulling the short entirely from theaters on December 8.

Despite the small setback, “Coco” is a massive success in the United States and the biggest box office hit in Mexican history. Pulling in $153.4 million worldwide and topping other movies such as “Justice League”.

“Coco” represented Mexican culture and family just as it is, full of life and full of color.

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Pixar Celebrates Mexican Culture with “Coco”