No words can do this justice, which does not bode well for me having to review this, it turns out I can’t just upload emotions to a blog and use them as a review. Which is a shame as this would be perfect for it. This film plays heavily on emotions, and very often. People talk about how Up is so emotional it’s basically torture, and it is, for the opening. Outside of that, it’s just standard Pixar (which is still about 80% better than everything else out there but still), this is consistent. At least the beautiful visuals will cheer you up, you can distract yourself from the existential crisis the film is giving you by just looking around the wonderful scenery, and then notice the oddly high amount of children in the Land Of The Dead and the implications of that……Jesus Christ.
The story? Now, as you may have guessed from previous reviews I’ve done, stories are key to me, and usually, kids films are more focused on catchy songs and bright colours than the story. But this is Pixar, and they are Gods, so the story here is intricate, in depth, and will stay with you long after you leave the cinema. You can tell a lot has gone into this story to make it work and it’s been made with a real love of film-making, and also of Mexico and it’s cultural traditions.
Not entirely sure how much this film will resonate with kids though. The themes it deals with are aimed very much at a particular audience, it deals not just with the importance of family, but also about legacy, and the fear of being forgotten. I’m not really sure “when I die will I be forgotten? Will everything I do be for nothing?” are massive issues for young children (apart from super depressed ones). Oh, and with a slight note of dementia as well.
There’s a surprise heel turn which doesn’t really come off as too much of a surprise. People who have seen a lot of films will kind of guess that one person turns out to be a bit of a dick, but what will truly surprise people is just how evil he turns out to be. He doesn’t just go “slightly evil”, he turns out to be truly despicable.
I did mention earlier how this film is incredibly emotional, and it is, but it is also life-affirming. Yes, you’ll cry your eyes out, but you’ll also feel uplifted by the whole thing, which is nice. What else is nice is that it used a mostly Latino cast, they didn’t just hire a lot of white people and get them to do a mildly racist accent. Animated films are becoming more progressive in terms of casting, they no longer seem to be sold based on the voice cast, which is a remarkable shift from years ago where entire advertising campaigns used to be based around who was doing the voices, now it’s more concepts and visuals, which is a great sign for the future.
So in summary: go see it at the cinema. This film deserves to be seen on the big screen. But then buy it on DVD/blu-ray as well, because it deserves to be seen multiple times.
Also read: This review of Coco courtesy of another site we know.
Also watch: Kubo And The Two Strings