coco teaser poster

What’s a Pixar movie without a lovable sidekick? Up had Dug and Kevin, Inside Out had Bing Bong, and Ratatouille had — arguably — Linguini. Of course, these sidekicks serve as more than just comic relief or witty one-liner machines. Pixar has been consistent in its generous handling of all of its characters, with some of these sidekicks receiving more of an emotional arc than other animated protagonists.

For Coco we have Dante, who has a few more layers to him than you’d expect for a street dog with only a few scraggly hairs on his head.

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skeletons in coco

Skeletons are no stranger to animation — or reanimation. One of Disney’s earliest short films, Skeleton Dance, featured some surprisingly dexterous skeletons dancing in a graveyard, and animated films throughout the years have kept up the spooky tradition, from the 1993 classic Nightmare Before Christmas to 2005’s The Corpse Bride.

It was not even the first time these bags of bones would be rendered in CGI animation, with 2014’s The Book of Life bringing skeletons into the modern age. However, this was the first time that Pixar has attempted to animate skeletons, so they tackled the challenge with the meticulous precision that the studio is known for.

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world of COCO

In Pixar’s Coco, the Land of the Dead is a stunning piece of animation, embedded with tiny pinpricks of light scattered throughout precarious towers of houses stacked upon houses. And springing out of this land are luminescent bridges made of marigold, bridging the way from the Land of the Dead to the Land of the Living.

It’s a majestic sight that’s all at once familiar and unfamiliar, as the production and set designers of Coco wanted to forge their own paths independent of animated films that evoked the afterlife before them — like The Book of Life or The Corpse Bride — but at the same time pay homage to the rich Mexican landscape in which the film is set.

“Mexico is a designer’s dream and I knew that we would feature the rich colors and textures that we saw there,” production designer Harvey Jessup said.
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COCO set visit

Is it possible to “Pixar-ify” an entire cultural tradition and transform it into a family-friendly, merchandise-ready movie? Those are the fears that some might have about Coco, Pixar’s upcoming film centers around Mexico’s beloved Day of the Dead or Día de los Muertos. But those fears can be put to rest, as Coco is as respectful in its treatment of Día de los Muertos as it is eager to share the joyous Mexican holiday with the rest of the world.

Coco follows a Mexican boy named Miguel (voiced by relative newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) whose overwhelming passion for music drives him to disobey his family — who, after a traumatizing incident from the past, has banned all music in their household — and attempt to prove himself as a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). But a series of rash decisions causes him to be stuck in the Land of the Dead on Día de los Muertos. There, he teams up with a ragamuffin skeleton named Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) on a mission to find de la Cruz, who he believes can help him return to the land of the living.

As fantastical a story as it sounds, Coco actually touches on more universal values than you would think: family, nostalgia, music, and adorable dogs. But amazingly, it tells this tale in a bilingual tongue, with the setting placed firmly in the fictional Mexican town of Santa Cecilia and its afterworld counterpart. The cast is entirely Latino, and Spanish phrases are sprinkled throughout the movie — with nary a subtitle to be seen. But rather than being alienating, these aspects of multiculturalism only serves to make Coco more authentic, serving as a bridge to a culture that hasn’t often been explored in mainstream animated films.

Earlier this month, I visited Pixar to get an early glimpse of the footage of Coco, as well as insight into the process of Coco’s long journey to the big screen from its directors, animators, and artists.

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D23 Expo 2017

This past weekend, our own Peter Sciretta journeyed to the 2017 D23 Expo to learn all about the various movies Disney and its many partners will be bringing us over the next few years. We learned the latest on Pixar’s upcoming slate, watched footage from upcoming Disney animation projects, watched teasers for upcoming Disney live-action movies, went behind the scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, watched the first footage from Avengers: Infinity War, and saw all kinds of plans for Disney’s upcoming theme park expansions.

Here is all of our coverage in one place.

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Coco Songs

Pixar Animation has another film hitting theaters this fall, and it’s unlike any movie they’ve made before. This time, the animation studio has assembled an all-Latino cast to bring to life the story of a young boy (Anthony Gonzales) who meets the deceased members of his family in The Land of the Dead after defying his living family’s ban against music in the Land of the Living.

At the D23 Expo, Pixar provided two Coco clips for the audience to watch and announced details on the music that will be a key part of the movie, featuring new songs from Frozen songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez.

Check out our rundown of the news on the Coco songs and new footagebelow. Read More »

cars 3 easter eggs

There are many things we love about Pixar movies. We love their emotional beats, their characters, the worlds they create, and the way they make us reevaluate our world and lives.

But I also love searching for those Easter eggs. When talking with director Brian Fee about the studio’s latest film, I was able to get him to reveal some of the more obscure Cars 3 easter eggs you should look out for.

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olaf's frozen adventure trailer

Santa who? It’s Olaf who is going to save Christmas.

The lovable snowman voiced by Josh Gad in Disney’s massive hit Frozen (and even “massive” sounds like an understatement) gets a starring role in the upcoming short film Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The 21-minute holiday special will premiere in front of Pixar’s new film Coco in November. And though we may be in the height of summer now, the trailer for the short film offers us a taste of an early Christmas.

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coco trailer

While many Pixar fans are planning to grit their teeth through the release of Cars 3 next week, we do have something to look forward to later in the year. Coco is the next original film from the most respected and critically lauded animation studio on the planet and, at the very least, it looks gorgeous. While the new trailer only shows off a sliver of story and character, the visuals on display are stunning to behold.

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Pixar Coco Voice Cast

This summer will bring Cars 3 to theaters, but it’s just one of two new movies from Pixar Animation hitting the big screen this year. In fact, when Cars 3 arrives in theaters next week, it will come with a new trailer for Pixar’s 2017 release, the music-infused, Mexican-inspired animated adventure Coco.

Ahead of the new trailer, Pixar Animation has announced the full, all-Latino voice cast for Coco. We already knew that newcomer Anthony Gonzales was voicing the lead character of Miguel, an aspiring musician living in a household that has banned music, believing it has cursed their family for generations. Following his heart and love of a famous, late musician named Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), Miguel learns of an amazing link between him and his favorite musician that leads him to an adventure in the Land of the Dead.

The full Pixar Coco voice cast list reveals the many characters we’ll encounter in both the lands of the living and the dead, and you can read all about them below. Read More »