Coco brings the Living to the Land of the Dead
What would you do if you suddenly entered the land of the dead by accident? Would you lose your mind? Will the situation scare you out of your wits? Will you be able to get back to the land of the living? What if you meet your departed loved ones? What will you ask them? Coco is an upcoming American computer-animated musical fantasy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Lee Unkrich created the original idea of Coco. He is also directing the movie. Adrian Molina co-directed and co-wrote the movie. The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who sets off a chain of events relating to a century-old mystery, leading to an extraordinary family reunion in the Land of the Dead.
Miguel embarks on a mission.
In Coco, Miguel has a big dream. He wants to be an famous musician much like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. The problem is that his family has enacted a ban on all forms of music. Ernesto, Miguel’s great great-grandfather, disappeared without a trace. His family believed that it was music that caused Ernesto’s disappearance. Thus, Migue’s family has banned the practice and enjoyment of music ever since.
Despite his family’s generation-old ban on music, Miguel practices in secret to achieve his dreams of becoming a musician. On the Day of the Dead, Miguel visits his ancestor’s grave with his dog Dante. After strumming the guitar on his great-great grandfather’s altar, Miguel and his dog find themselves in the Land of the Dead. Along the way, they meet charming trickster Hector and together they set off on an extraordinary journey and, with the help of Miguel’s departed ancestors, unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
What is the Day of the Dead?
The Mexican holiday of the Day of the Dead was the basis of the concept of the film. The Day of the Dead, Día de Muertos in Spanish, is a Mexican holiday. People all throughout Mexico celebrate this holiday, in particular the Central and South regions. People of Mexican ancestry living in other places, especially the United States, also celebrate this holiday. Many other cultures around the world also acknowledge the Day of the Dead. The multi-day holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died, and help support their spiritual journey. In Coco, they have turned the tables of the holiday. Instead of the living helping the dead with their spiritual journey, the dead help Miguel with his journey of self discovery.
Origins and Influence of the Day of the Dead
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The holiday has spread throughout the world. Other traditions have absorbed the practice of honoring the dead. It has become a national symbol and as such is taught (for educational purposes) in the nation’s schools. Many families celebrate a traditional “All Saints’ Day” associated with the Catholic Church.
Originally, northern Mexico did not celebrate the Day of the Dead as such. It was unknown in the area until the 20th century because its indigenous people had different traditions. The people and the church rejected it as a day related to syncretizing pagan elements with Catholic Christianity. They held the traditional ‘All Saints’ Day’ in the same way as other Christians in the world. There was limited Mesoamerican influence in this region, and relatively few indigenous inhabitants from the regions of Southern Mexico, where the holiday was celebrated. In the early 21st century in northern Mexico, Día de Muertos is observed because the Mexican government made it a national holiday based on educational policies from the 1960s; it has introduced this holiday as a unifying national tradition based on indigenous traditions.
The Mexican Day of the Dead celebration is similar to other societies’ observances of a time to honor the dead. The Spanish tradition includes festivals and parades. They also have gatherings of families at cemeteries to pray for their deceased loved ones.
Coco is a movie for the whole family!
Disney and Pixar, the creators of classics like Toy Story and Monsters, Inc., are behind the production of Coco. This means that people of all age groups can enjoy the movie!
The screenplay was penned by Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich, and the story by Unkrich, Jason Katz, Aldrich & Molina. Pixar began developing animation in 2016. Unkrich and some of the film’s crew members also visited Mexico for inspiration. The animators of the film redesigned the skeletons to be less scary and more appealing. Composer Michael Giacchino, who had worked on prior Pixar animated features, will compose the score.
Coco will premiere in theatres on November 22, 2017.