A Family that Remembers, Lives Forever
The Dia de los Muertos Celebration
One of the advertised covers for the animated film, Coco.
Dia de los Muertos is among one of the most popular Mexican festivals that takes center stage in many films and works of literature, including the Disney creation Coco. The movie, intended for younger audiences, strikes the hearts of every generation, holding onto the deep tradition of the true meaning of family, what it means to remember the ones who have passed, and how to accept those losses.
Although the title is named after the grandmother, Coco centers around the life of a young boy, Miguel, a citizen of a small village in Mexico that worships a bigtime singer and film star, Ernesto de la Cruz. Miguel aspires to be just like the charming musician, despite his family’s long-held hatred for anything and everything involved with music.
The movie allows viewers to embark on the journey with Miguel as he travels to the colorful Land of the Dead to find his long-passed great-great grandfather in order to gain the family blessing to become a musician.
While Miguel tries to find himself, Mama Coco is beginning to forget her father, and in the Land of the Dead, those who are forgotten, disappear forever.
Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a time for the living to celebrate and remember those who are passed by building altars full of their family’s favorite foods, sweets, toys, or other important artifacts. Through these altars, it is believed that the members in the Land of the Dead can then cross over to come and visit the living for a high-spirited night of celebration and commemoration.
This Academy Award-winning animation screenplay was written by Matthew Aldrich and Adriana Molina. Voicing the characters for the animation are Benjamin Bratt portraying the world-renowned musician Ernesto de la Cruz; Anthony Gonzalez takes the lead as Miguel; Renée Victor plays Abuelita; and Alanna Ubach brings Mama Imelda to life alongside Ana Ofelia Murguía who voices Mama Coco.
The film’s theme song, “Remember Me,” was written by the same duo who wrote the soundtrack for Frozen, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert J. Lopez.
Not only is the film accurate to Mexican culture, but the process of the filmmaking itself is astounding. It took several hundred animators to bring this film to life, even for the smaller clips, such as the scene where Miguel first enters the Land of the Dead which is filled with breathtakingly gorgeous colors and characters, each one animated to have various bone structures, clothes, and movements.
With thousands and thousands of marigolds, traditional Mexican Oaxaca dresses and more, this movie perfectly captures of idea of Dia de los Muertos, and how the festival celebrates life.
Overall, Coco, is a time-enduring film earning multiple awards, including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film, Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Feature Film, DG Excellence in Production Design Awards Animated Film, and more.