Yesterday, this movie premiered in Indonesia and I urged my wife to see this one immediately. It was a Disney Pixar movie and I believed it would be a good one so I definitely would want to see it at the earliest. We went to see this at Lotte Avenue and the theater was not too full, but almost half of them were children. Well let us move on to the movie.
Brief Story Line
Miguel Rivera (voiced by Anthony Gonzales) was a 12 year old Mexican boy who lived in a small village and was really into music and he wanted to be like his idol Ernesto (Benjamin Bratt - Miss Congeniality, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs etc), who was the greatest musician in Mexico. However, he came from a family who honored tradition but totally hate music since it was believed to have ruined the Rivera ancestors. Miguel had to conceal his dreams in front of his family, especially from his grandmother Abuelita Elena (Renee Victor - Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones etc) who was the daughter of Mama Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguía).
One night, during the Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) where family gathered to pray for their family members who have died and help support their spiritual journey, Miguel instead wanted to follow a talent contest where he would show his talent for music, despite the major disapproval from his Abuelita and his parents. Through one incident, Miguel somehow became stuck in the Land of the Dead where the spirits of the dead people lived. He was found by his old families whom he only knew from their photos in Rivera family's offering table (ofrenda) and he met his great great grandmother Imelda (Alanna Ubach - Rango etc). There was only 1 way for Miguel to return to the living, but he decided to do something first which is to find Ernesto.
In his so called "adventure" to look for Ernesto, he met with Hector (Gael García Bernal - Babel, Mozart in the Jungle TV series) who had is own personal mission and willing to help Hector. With his family chasing Miguel to help him return to the living, Miguel had to race against time together with Hector and the dog who followed him around called Dante to meet with Ernesto. So could Miguel do so before time ran out? Would he achieve his dreams of becoming a musician? Find them all in this very emotional movie from Disney-Pixar.
End of Brief Story Line
This movie started off quite slow, where we would be shown the history of Miguel's family then his passion for music, which later on moved to the Land of the Dead. At first I honestly felt that those part was a bit too weird for me but as the movie progressed, especially during the middle towards the end part, the story suddenly picked up the pace and became very interesting. The ending was one of the most emotional moment I ever experienced during a movie. I think it was like the ending moment of Toy Story 3 or the beginning part of Up or the ending of Finding Dory. I knew my wife was sooo emotional from those moments that she still could felt it even hours after the movie ended. (Btw, there was no post end credit scene here).
Apart from the beautiful story about family and also honoring the Mexican tradition, just like any other Disney-Pixar movies, the animation was done beautifully. The colorful scenes of the Land of the Dead would probably be eye catching enough for children. However, I personally feel that the movie would be a little bit too heavy for young audience. I think it is more suitable for teenagers and above. The voice characterization here were very good, especially the young Anthony Gonzales who voiced Miguel. He was such a lovable character (and can sing too!). I also loved the character Hector and the brief very sad scene involving Hector's friend Chicharrón (voiced by Edward James Olmos - Blade Runner, Battlestar Galactica TV series etc).
Despite being a story of a young musician, the movie itself was not a musical like Beauty and the Beast and only having few songs sung in it. My wife and I saw this in a non 3D movie, but it would be lovely to see this one in 3D. The movie was co-directed by Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich who also directed Toy Story 3 and co-directed Monsters, Inc and Finding Nemo. One thing to take note that before the start of the movie, there would be a short film titled Olaf's Frozen Adventure which ran for around 20 minutes. This was a lovely movie about Christmas and I urge you not to be late so you could watch those characters from that successful 2013 movie Frozen and can see Olaf, Anna, Elsa and Kristoff again.
So those of you who are doubtful of seeing this movie due to an unfamiliar Mexican tradition, or the weirdness of the Land of the Dead (especially from the trailer which did not do justice), should give this one a try and see this movie yourself to experience the beautiful story. But perhaps you need to have open mind due to its unconventional story line. And be sure not to be late so you can catch that funny short Olaf movie.
Mike's movie moments rating: 4 out of 5 stars