Pixar has been fairly quiet about their upcoming film Coco. The film was first announced way back in 2012 as an untitled picture about Dia de los Muertos, and in the years since, we really only learned that it would be directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich and that the movie was entitled “Coco”. Granted, it takes a long time for these movies to move through development, but the studio has been surprisingly quiet on their sole non-sequel.
But today, Pixar has done a massive reveal on their upcoming animated feature. First up, EW has a plot synopsis for the film:
Coco follows the secret musical ambitions of 12-year-old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez), who resides in a lively, loud Mexican village but comes from a family of shoemakers that may be the town’s only music-hating household. For generations, the Riveras have banned music because they believe they’ve been cursed by it; as their family history goes, Miguel’s great-grandfather abandoned his wife decades earlier to follow his own dreams of performing, leaving Imelda (Renée Victor), Miguel’s great-grandmother, to take control as the matriarch of the now-thriving Rivera line and declare music dead to the family forever.
But Miguel harbors a secret desire to seize his musical moment, inspired by his favorite singer of all time, the late Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). It’s only after Miguel discovers an amazing link between himself and De la Cruz that he takes action to emulate the famous singer and, in doing so, accidentally enters the Land of the Dead.
In the beautiful underworld, it’s not long until Miguel encounters the souls of his own family — generations’ worth of long-dead but no less vivacious Rivera ancestors, including great-grandmother Imelda. Still, given the opportunity to roam around the Land of the Dead, Miguel decides to track down De la Cruz himself. He teams up with another friendly (and skeletal) spirit — a trickster named Hector, voiced by Gael Garcia Bernal — to find De la Cruz, earn his family’s blessing to perform, and return to the Land of the Living before time runs out.
That sounds like a great road trip movie in the spirit of Inside Out and Toy Story. Yes, the road-trip buddy comedy is Pixar’s bread-and-butter, and it doesn’t always work out (looking at you, The Good Dinosaur), but more often than not, it’s successful and what surrounds the characters makes for a fresh experience.
Also, if you’re worried that Pixar is just co-opting Mexican culture to make a quick buck, fear not. The studio invested in heavily to make sure that they were respectful and inclusive according to Vanity Fair:
Coco writer Adrian Molina, who was promoted to co-director in 2016, says that working alongside Solís, Aviles, and Alcaraz (among others) was “crucial” to getting Coco right. “It opened up a great conversation—to be able to meet with people—because we understood there was such a responsibility. The great thing about it is that when we talk with our consultants—or even in my experience coming from a Mexican background—it creates a conversation of what the celebration means to them,” he says. It’s also part of larger effort on Disney’s part to craft more inclusive stories and get as much cultural input as possible.
While we’re still a ways off from Coco, and we’ll have to get through Cars 3 to get there, for me, it’s the most exciting film Pixar is working on right now because it’s not a sequel. I’m curious about Toy Story 4 and The Incredibles 2, but Coco promises to give audiences something new from the studio, and I can’t wait to see what it is.
Coco opens November 22, 2017.