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June 22, 2024
Book Reviews

Coco: As long as we don’t forget, the people we once loved won’t go away

Coco, also known as “Journey to the Dream” in China, tells the story of a Mexican boy Miguel who came to the underworld to pursue his musical dream, but finally found out the secret of his great grandfather’s being framed and reunited with his family. Because the release in London is later than that in China, we had expectations early on. The combination of music and moving pictures is always a powerful tear gas, but similar films, such as “Journey to the House”, have also brought a lot of pressure to the film. However, after watching it, I felt that compared with the next “Enemy” in the same period, it is really a film that can be advertised as a five-star and worth seeing.

As an animation film, it does not cut corners, because it uses a large number of local Mexican culture, which adds a cultural sense of depth to the film, and also lays the groundwork for the core story of the whole film. It can be called a classic commercial animation.


Search for dreams on the surface

Although the story is unfolded in the form of Paper Cuttings, it still falls to the point of kinship and death and finally complements Mexico’s culture of the Day of the Dead. The protagonist Miguel was born in a shoemaker family, and his great-grandmother became a shoemaker because his father who played music “abandoned” them. Thus, the main line of this story development became the conflict between Miguel and the whole family, dream and reality. In the story, Miguel seems to have been born with the talent of Mexicans to play and sing. He secretly regards the legendary figure in the town at that time, Drachus, as an idol, and often plays and sings by himself in the attic.

In fact, the screenwriter has a deep intention. At the beginning, he wanted to guide the audience to the conflict between his family and his dream, but he often laid the foreshadowing for the next turn. In the face of Xiaomig’s constant desire to perform, Grandma, who represents the traditional forces of the family, took her family with her to stop and even destroyed Xiaomig’s beloved guitar. So when we saw this, many people who thought they were wise secretly speculated about the plot, thinking that Xiaomig would eventually become famous with the help of a noble person, and win the understanding of his family and usher in a happy ending. But if so, this film won’t have IMDb8.7, rotten tomato 97%, and bean paste 9.0. To tell the truth, the screenwriter is just using Mige to cover the eyes, using Mige’s dream story to tell a sad story about his great-grandfather.


Hidden mainline

At the beginning of the film, the musician who abandoned his wife and daughter was mentioned. When Mig accidentally broke the picture frame of his great-grandmother, he found a white guitar photo folded behind it. This is the guitar that was carried by the god of songs Draculus, which made Mig think that his great-grandfather was the god of songs. It is true that this “cunning” misleading urges Miguel to live for himself and firmly pursue his dream. “Seize the Moment” is the famous sentence carved in front of the bust of the god of song. This also made him firmly choose the latter between family affection and dream. However, it was precisely because Miguel was unwilling to accept conditional blessings and stayed in the place of death, which revealed the truth of the story.

However, come back and notice the main line that seems to be a branch line. When Miguel crossed the marigold bridge with the extended family, a dead soul named Ector could not leave the place of death because there was no one to serve him in the world. The beggar-like dress actually conceals his real identity, making people mistakenly think that he is just a beggar who died in the street, while the screenwriter quietly laid the foreshadowing. It can be said that the success of Coco as a commercial film lies in its tight and delicate plot weaving.

The gorgeous pictures and cheerful songs, together with the pursuit of the relatives of the dead, make Miguel’s dream pursuit become the focus, and Ector has become Miguel’s dream teacher in the film because of a lie. He led Miguel to borrow a guitar and participate in the competition to help Miguel meet the god of songs Drachus. In return, Miguel accepted Ector’s request to bring his picture back to the world for worship, so that Ector could see his daughter for the last time.


True theme

In fact, the real theme of the film is not to seek dreams at all, but to love relatives. The most important point of the film is to tell us how to face death by borrowing the shell of Mexico’s Ghost Festival culture. As the Mexicans commonly say, there are three kinds of death: the first is normal death; The second is to bury in the earth; The third is to be forgotten.

In the movie, Ector goes to the forgotten place to find an old dead soul to borrow a guitar. This reveals a real problem. Once no one remembers the ghost, it will eventually turn into dust and go with the wind. Ector played and sang a song for the old dead in order to borrow the guitar, but at the end of the song, the old dead disappeared for a hundred years, leaving only his hat. While Mig was dumbfounded, Ector gave the old dead a cup of tequila and said: “This is just the end that all of us will experience.” People will eventually be forgotten with the death of their loved ones.

The theme expressed in the film has actually taken shape here, putting the comedy of death in front of us again. Thus, the branch line about Ector’s hope of being remembered and living in the place of death was also strengthened until Miguel finally met the god of song. The popular god of songs recognized Miguel because of Miguel’s narration, but Ector’s intrusion made the scene awkward. It turned out that all the pop songs sung by the god of songs were written by Ector, while the god of songs Drachus took his achievements as his own and erased Ector’s existence. This sudden change of plot actually broke the disguise of the previous main line.

If Draculus is the great-grandfather of the boy and encroaches on the intellectual achievements of his friend in order to realize his dream, then for Miguel, the dream is whether he is still so pure and noble. This reality is actually a kind of torture to the little boy’s soul. However, when Miguel was suspicious, he found that Draculus did not just encroach on Ector’s music achievements. He poisoned him in order to snatch Ector’s songs, resulting in his choking to death. This was also the foreshadowing that had been buried before. Ector was laughed at by musicians for his absurd cause of death.


Please remember me

As a result, Draculus threw both of them into the sinkhole in order to cover up the fact, and Ector also suffered from the condition from time to time because his daughter was forgetting his father. Occasionally, Ector said the name of his daughter Coco. When asked, Miguel learned that Ector was his great-grandfather, which finally made the abandoned main line completely give way to the branch line that has been developing in parallel.

In fact, the so-called “Remember Me”, which is sung all over the world, was originally written for his daughter Coco in Ector’s heart, so the film finally turned back to the real main line – kinship. There is nothing like a family reunion. It turned out that the great-great-grandfather did not abandon his family, but prepared to reunite with his family, but did not expect his insidious friend Draculus to poison him, and finally borrowed Ector’s talent and the tragedy of his wife and daughter to create his own glory. Although Draculus was finally abandoned by the public at the place of death, the photo of Ector was lost, so the writer created a small contradiction here and finally led to the final climax.

Perhaps as long as you don’t forget, the person you love won’t go away. The family at the place of death did not hinder Mig from realizing his dream. However, Mig valued his family more. As soon as he returned to the sun, he rushed straight home to find his great-grandmother Coco. He kept trying to remind the other party of his great-great-grandfather, Ector, so that Ector would not disappear forever, but Coco, who was old and had lost his memory, had no response to Mig’s shouts.


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