Friday, March 2, 2018

Coco 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson
In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Pixar Animation Studios’ 19th feature film, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt)—despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
Film (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Coco tells the story of a Mexican family whose love of music was ended when the husband of Imeda Rivera left his family behind to focus on his musical career. Furious at being abandoned, Imelda banned all music henceforth which causes problems for her great-great grandson Miguel almost a hundred years later as he has a natural affinity for it. Miguel in fact, secretly practices playing the guitar like his hero Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) who was a huge film and music star years before. When Miguel accidentally damages the photo of his great grandmother's family, he discovers that while the face of her father has been torn off, Ernesto's famous guitar is present in his hands which leads Miguel to believe that Ernesto is his great-great grandfather.

Overjoyed at the news, Miguel decides to borrow Ernesto's guitar from his mausoleum to compete in the local talent show taking place for the "Day of the Dead" festivities. Taking the guitar has dire consequences however, as Miguel is cursed by stealing from the dead and is now invisible to all living persons and can only be seen by the dead. Lucky for him, his dead relatives have come to visit during the "Day of the Dead" celebration and are there to help him by taking him back to the land of the dead. The only way to break the curse is to have one of Miguel's relatives give him their blessing with an magic petal that will allow him to return to the land of the living. Miguel's only problem is that his great-great-grandmother Imelda won't give him her blessing unless he swears to forsake music. That's something he cannot agree to so he runs away to try to find Ernesto to see if he will give him his blessing instead. 

Along the way, Miguel also meets Hector, a skeleton who isn't doing all that great either as he is in danger of being forgotten which would mean his final death. The two team up as Hector agrees to help Miguel in exchange for Miguel returning to the land of the living with his photo to help remind his family of his existence. It also turns out that Hector and Ernesto have a history of their own which will change the lives of many once it's revealed. 

When I first heard about Coco, I was afraid that it was going to be a variation of The Book of Life, another movie that explored the "Day of the Dead." Fortunately, while they explore similar areas, Coco is very much its own original movie that offers a warmhearted look at a family and the bonds that they share. Lee Unkrich is probably my favorite Pixar director (or at least a tied for first with Brad Bird), as his movies all share believable family ties whether they are fish (Finding Nemo) or toys (Toy Story 2 and 3). With Coco, he delivers a colorful, fun, and original film that explores the Mexican culture and authentically brings it to life along with some catchy songs. There's some surprises in this film that also elevate it from the usual formulaic that a lot of movies try to get by with. This is a great movie that the whole family can enjoy.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
First off, let me say that the Blu-ray included in this set is reference quality. It's so good that it's almost as good as the 4K version. Both offer vibrant colors, super-fine details and textures, and suitably dark palettes when needed, although the UHD version is a little darker. The UHD offers slightly brighter colors and a little more detail, but the Blu-ray is surprisingly almost as good so don't fret if you don't have a 4K player yet. 
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
The differences between the two formats deepens as the UHD offers a Dolby Atmos mix while the Blu-ray has a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix. Both mixes aren't up to Disney's usual standards which usually get the best rating possible, but they both offer sonic clarity and clear dialogue. I wish they had added a little more oopmh to the overall mix and added more surround activity, but overall both mixes sound pretty good. 
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
Per usual, no extras are included on the UHD disc as all of them are stored on the Blu-ray disc. A Movies Anywhere UHD digital code is included which also includes the extras along with the digital copy of the movie which is really nice. All of the extras are in 1080p high definition. 

Here are the extras:

Disc One: 

  • Welcome to the Fiesta - A short film made as a proof of concept for this film. There is also optional commentary with Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Director Adrian Molina, and Producer Darla Anderson.
  • Mi Familia - The filmmakers talk about their upbringing with their families and how the trips to Mexico for research impacted the final film. 
  • Dante - A short look at the inspiration for the dog in the film.
  • How to Draw a Skeleton - An extra that my son enjoys where you learn how to draw one of the skeletons from the film. 
  • Audio Commentary - Commentary from Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Director Adrian Molina, and Producer Darla Anderson where they talk about the evolution of the story and characters, their trips to Mexico, the cast, the visual effects, and more. 

Disc Two: 

  • A Thousand Pictures A Day - this is a more in depth look at the filmmaker's trups to Mexico to better understand the culture and traditions for the movie. 
  • The Music of Coco - A look at the film's music and how it represents the culture of Mexico and its place in telling the story. 
  • Land of Our Ancestors - A look at the "Day of the Dead" depictions in the movie and what inspired them. 
  • Fashion Through the Ages - This featurette covers the various outfits seen in the movie, both in the land of the dead and in the living. We see how the filmmakers tried to keep them authentic. 
  • The Real Guitar - A very quick look in how the guitar was created both in real life and for the movie digitally. 
  • Paths to Pixar: Coco - A familiar kind of featurette with Pixar releases, this covers how the people who made the movie found themselves working at Pixar. They talk about growing up and their inspirations, and all of the things that led them to Pixar. 
  • How to Make Papel Picado - This is quick tutorial on how to craft this Mexican decoration. 
  • You Got the Part! - A brief look at Anthony Gonzalez being given the part of voicing Miguel.
  • Deleted Scenes - At a little over 33 minutes long, these deleted scenes include: "Día del los Muertos," "The Way of the Riveras," "Celebrity Tour," "The Bus Escape," "Alebrije Attack," "The Family Fix," and "To the Bridge." There is also an available introduction to the deleted scenes with directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina.
  • Trailers & Promos
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Coco is a fantastic movie for all ages that's original and fun and offers viewers a chance to see a culture that isn't usually depicted in movies. This UHD set offers excellent video and audio presentations and the extras are pretty good too. If you are a fan of Pixar movies (and who isn't?), then you should pick up this set right away! 

Order your copy today!

No comments:

Post a Comment