Pixar explores more cultural diversity with the music filled “Coco.”


This year we’ll be getting two films from Pixar Animation. One is the surprisingly grim and provocative Cars 3, which got everyone’s attention with that dark teaser trailer. But the other is thankfully an original idea, one that allows Pixar to dive into cultural territory they’ve yet to explore.

Coco follows a 12-year old Mexican boy named Miguel Rivera (voiced by newcomer Anthony Gonzalez). He is part of a family who makes shoes to get by, but has one unbreakable rule: no music allowed in the house. However, a new first look photo from Coco has surfaced showing that Miguel is directly defying that rule, giving into a passion for music that cannot be bottled up.

Here’s the new Coco photo from Entertainment Weekly:

So why does the Rivera family now allow music in the house? Well you can thank Miguel’s great-great-grandmother, Imelda, for that rule. It seems that her husband, who was hell-bent on having a career as a musician, abandoned Imelda, and their family. Now the rule is a staple of the Rivera family, enforced by Miguel’s grandmother, voiced by Renee Victor.

But of course there wouldn’t be a story without Miguel defying this rule. In the photo above, he’s doing so with a guitar that he’s decided to borrow from the tomb of his idol, a late singer named Ernesto de la Cruz, voiced by Benjamin Bratt. This wouldn’t be as big of a deal if it wasn’t Dia de Muertos (the Day of the Dead). Miguel’s borrowing of da la Cruz’s guitar on this day will be the catalyst that sends him into the Land of the Dead, where he’ll meet the relatives who gave the Rivera family a reason to ban music, as well as a skeleton named Hector (voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal) who shows him around.

Not only is this a unique Pixar film in that it has their first all-Latino voice cast, but it sounds like their most musical film yet. It’s not a straight-up musical with characters breaking out into song all the time, but music is a huge driving force of the film, and it’s a big part of the story, with plenty of original songs composed for the movie.

The fact that this film is following Moana shows how dedicated Disney is to venturing into various cultures while still crafting a story that people from any ethnic background can enjoy. Director Lee Unkrich says:

This is a story we want to share with the world, but it’s also been particularly important to us that when the Latino community sees the film, that it resonates and it feels like we got it right, and that’s what we’re really trying to do. We all feel the gravity.

Coco will arrive in theaters on November 22, 2017.

Are you intrigued with the idea behind Coco? Do you like that Pixar has chosen to show greater cultural diversity with some of their films? Is this a good idea for the animation studio to pursue, or should they make a more concerted effort to produce content that is considered mainstream?
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