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EDITOR’S NOTE: Film Fans features local residents reviewing the movie of the week: “Coco.” To be a film fan, email features@gwinnettdailypost.com.

Tim Weekley, Suwanee

3.5 out of 4 stars

Pass:

Superb animation; very good story line that appeals to older kids and adults; engaging characters; nice original songs.

Fail:

A relatively long running time for what purports to be a kids’ movie; the story line is heavily skewed toward Hispanic culture and thus may not readily appeal to mass audiences.

Who delivered a standout performance, and why?

The animators and storyboard folks at Pixar Animation really knocked it out of the park with “Coco.” They took a well-known Mexican traditional holiday and used it as the basis for a tale about a young boy’s love of music and search for his roots, then added some very good dialogue, humor, and songs. The result is an animated feast for the eyes and heart that gets better the longer you watch it.

Fans of what genre would most enjoy this movie?

Those who love everything Disney (who owns Pixar) will really enjoy “Coco,” especially if you liked last year’s “Moana.” While Latinos are the obvious demographic targeted for this flick, anyone who can put aside their cultural or religious biases and enjoy a good old-fashioned story will be very rewarded by watching “Coco.”

Go see it in theaters or wait for the Blu-ray?

“Coco” dazzles on the big screen, for it’s here that the viewer can appreciate the true depth of detail in the animation. The scenes where the dead cross over to visit the living (according to Mexican tradition) are especially awesome to behold. If you’re taking youngsters, be ready for a long time at the cinema: “Coco” is a full-length film and is preceded by a Disney short “Olaf’s Christmas Tradition” which runs more than 30 minutes and features the obnoxious snowman from “Frozen.”

What is your overall impression?

I must confess that as a non-Hispanic viewer who doesn’t ascribe to the beliefs expressed in the movie, “Coco” still had a good enough story of the little boy Miguel’s odyssey that I was extremely impressed by the end of the film. One caveat: While “Coco” is pure Disney/Pixar gold aimed at youngsters, the themes and ideas expressed are best appreciated by older children and adults. In fact, very young kiddies might get antsy and a bit scared by all the skeletons and fantastic beasts featured. Otherwise, “Coco” is a complete fiesta.

Paul Tate, Sugar Hill

4 out of 4 stars

Pass

There is a lot to love about “Coco.” Pixar has really gone to a lot of trouble to tell a story with great care, with colorful and dramatic animation, a sensitive script that gently teaches a little Mexican history without manipulation and with solid voiceover performances.

Fail

There are a few minutes in the middle of the film where the story seems to drift a bit. Perhaps some trimming would have been a good idea here, but that is a minor quibble in a film that is, overall, one of the best of the year, animated or otherwise.

Who delivered a standout performance, and why?

All of the voice actors do a fine job with both acting and singing. Gael Garcia Bernal, known primarily for dramatic roles, brings the quirky character of Hector to life in such a way that we are not too sure about him in the beginning, but by the end we have fallen in love with him, flaws and all. Anthony Gonzalez, who voices the young leading man Miguel, is charming and sweet throughout and when he sings to his great grandmother in the final scene if it doesn’t melt your heart, you should check your pulse.

Fans of what genre would most enjoy this movie?

This a movie all about family and being a musician. It’s not a musical per se, but there are songs scattered throughout (primarily penned by the Lopez duo that brought us “Let It Go,” “Do You Want To Build A Snowman,” and all those other “Frozen” tunes you’ve probably heard from your child’s stereo system.) Kids will enjoy it, too; it’s not very violent and there is no colorful language — a refreshing PG movie that the whole family may enjoy. One caveat—several of the main characters are skeletons (and their heads, arms, and hands randomly fly off an reattach), and so some explaining my be required for the very young.

Go see it in theaters or wait for the Blu-ray?

The color and design work is top notch here, and so you must see it on the big screen. The stunning multi-colored backdrops look absolutely magical, and the expressions on all of the characters are very expressive and realistic. Plus, if you hurry and see it soon, you are gifted with a mini-movie sequel to “Frozen” before the film starts (though I hear Pixar has decided to drop that at some point this month).

What is your overall impression?

“Coco” is right up there with my favorite Pixar releases. It has a giant heart and succeeds without being overly melancholy or artificially sweet. The songs written for the film have that magic combination of tunefulness and poignancy, especially “Remember Me,” which is used throughout. So grab the family and spend a couple hours laughing and crying during “Coco.” You’ll be glad you did.

This article originally ran on gwinnettdailypost.com.

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