Mini Review of Olaf's Frozen Adventure:
I am going to be blunt. The internet has gotten their panties in a wad over nothing about this short. I can understand disliking the short, the Film Frozen is not beloved by everybody (as is every other movie) and this short is very much banking on fandom for the original feature film. But the outrage is completely unwarranted. The short had good jokes attached to it, great chemistry between Anna and Elsa, the animation was still beautiful, and the songs were not half bad even though there was no "Let It Go" equivalent among them. Though I would say that the song Olaf has about finding a tradition for Anna and Elsa could have been trimmed down; every joke in that song I found funny, but it seemed as though the composers liked so many jokes they were coming up with that they decided to keep them all in instead of pick some to cut. Other than that, I enjoyed myself. It even has me obsessing over the Frozen soundtrack again, much to the chagrin of everyone around me (I'm a good singer but no Adele Dazeem).
Real Review of Coco:
My mind has been blown. I sawthis movie a week ago and my thoughts are still dominated by it. I can barely say how much I loved it. But alas, it is my solemn, self-appointed duty to try. Coco is the 19th installment in the Pixar lineup, and everyone has been saying that this is one of their best; a pretty strong feat for the renowned animation studio. What has always been a strong point for Disney in general is their ability to capture culture and according to what I already knew and have learned over the last week about Dia de Muertos, Coco came from a place of accuracy and, more importantly, a place of passion. The creators bluntly stated and clearly conveyed their insatiable fascination for the holiday. I am not sure if it is my new favorite of Pixar films, but it is most assuredly in my top 3. So for that, I will break it down into its three main parts of story, music, and animation; all treated with equal importance by the filmmakers.
First, the foundation, the story. Pixar has a special talent for taking a story that we have heard before and molding it to take on a new form never before considered. Pixar did this with Toy Story, they did this with Inside Out, and they have done it again with Coco. Coco is the rare type of film that has the potential to be recycled in story, but takes those clichés and somehow turns them on their heads. When the first act was rolling along, I spent half of that time thinking “Oh, here is this cliché. The story will go in that direction I suppose”. Yet every time I thought that, the cliché proved to be necessary to the story somehow, and even then the screenwriters (Adrian Molina and Matthew Aldrich) would efficiently use it to their advantage, then move on in the story. At one point, I thought that one of the characters was going to go through the "liar revealed" arch where his true connection to another character would not be revealed until the third act. Then, the character just casually admits that he lied fairly instantaneously. This move helped in getting to know the character better, thus getting to know his connections better. I never knew that molding clichés like that could leave me in suspense of where the rest of the film would take me. But alas, Pixar achieved it.
Second, the support, the music. This film is a musical in the sense that the songs act as a conduit of expression for the characters rather than progression of the plot. And, at least to someone who admittedly is not that familiar, they sound fitting to the Mexican culture. They were fun, some a little silly (and I mean that in a good way), and all have a ton of heart. But more than just the songs themselves (which a week later I am still obsessing over), their value carries more weight than many other movies within this type of plot. Without giving away too much, there is a scene where one character must sing for another. The scene was animated and written in an uncomplicated manner, yet it reminded me of why music therapy is becoming increasingly popular, why often people turn to music for a brief time of salvation, and how it can unite audiences into a single rhythm of the heartbeat. The songs in this movie are not just cheap demonstrations of why music is important to the main character, but demonstrations of why music is and should be so intimately important to most of the world.
Third, the aesthetic, the animation. Oh, how heart-stopping, how resplendent, how magnificent! This is Pixar’s biggest project as of yet in ambition and size. Modeled after a real Mexican city called Guanajuato, the colors of every building and every spirit leap off of the screen. I could get blissfully lost in this city, in these color pallets. And the characters are so expressive that I would love to be guest in each of their houses just improvising our time. Not to mention this contains some of the best visual humor I have seen in a while. Take for example, a bureaucratic office where the dead must go when they are having trouble crossing into the land of the living. The computers that the workers use in this office are 1980’s Macintosh computers. Because no one uses those anymore, they are antiquated pieces of technology or, in other words, dead technology. Once that joke clicked with me, I laughed to the point of tears.
As I’m sure you have guessed, fair reader, I loved this movie. This is one of the most perfect films I have ever seen. To change any piece of it would be to diminish it. I know that I am probably only gushing or falling into a trap of over-hype, so feel free to take my praise with a grain of salt. But this is a film that has something for everyone. If you consider yourself a musician, like I do, then see this film for the music. If you consider yourself an artist, then see this movie for the animation. If you consider yourself a writer, then see this movie for the story. If you consider yourself none or all of these things, then see it anyway and find out which suits your fancy the most. Enjoy and tell me if it makes you un poco loco!