Coco (2017) Review

Coco (2017) Review

Directed by Lee Unkrich

Starring: Anthony Gonzalez, Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Alanna Ubach, Renée Victor, Ana Ofelia Murguía, Edward James Olmos

Music by Michael Giacchino

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The story follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel Rivera who is accidentally transported to the land of the dead, where he seeks the help of his deceased musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.

My Opinion:

Finally! I hate how we have to wait months for Pixar movies to be released in the UK. What’s up with that?!?! I adore Pixar! So, thanks to months of hype about Coco, maybe that’s why I was slightly underwhelmed. Cute movie & nice story but it certainly won’t be at the top of my list of favorite Pixar films. I did do a list of My Top Pixar Movies HERE. Actually, that list needs updating. Okay, I’ll do it in this post! Here’s my Pixar Movie Rankings (counting down to my very favorite & including Coco):

18. Cars 2
17. Cars
16. The Good Dinosaur
15. Finding Dory
14. Monsters University
13. Coco
12. Ratatouille
11. Brave
10. A Bug’s Life
9. Up
8. The Incredibles
7. Toy Story 2
6. Toy Story 3
5. Inside Out
4. Finding Nemo
3. Monsters, Inc.
2. Toy Story
1. WALL-E

13th? Hmm. That’s disappointing. I do think Coco was hurt slightly by Book Of Life coming out first. My daughter said afterwards that Coco was okay but that she likes Book Of Life more. That’s unfortunate as I think Coco is definitely the superior film. It’s more timeless and has a better story. I liked the focus on family & following your dreams compared to the more complicated love story in Book Of Life, which I think fewer people can relate to.

I’ll keep this short. Coco is still a far better film than all the animated stuff we get from the Non-Disney/Pixar studios in Hollywood. I just have incredibly high standards when it comes to Pixar and some movies have been a bit disappointing in recent years. But even the worst Pixar films are FAR from “bad” (well, the Cars films leave a lot to be desired).

Coco’s lead character, Miguel, is strong and I really liked Héctor (voiced by Gael García Bernal). We don’t get to know a lot of Miguel’s family as well as I’d have liked, though (Plus they come off as a bit unlikeable at first). I also thought the movie was quite slow to begin with. Pixar movies usually grab me from the start but I didn’t really get into Coco until almost halfway through the film. The “reveal” was also very obvious from early on but, I dunno… I suppose that’s just because I watch too many movies. As always with Pixar, the film was lovely to look at (Even all the use of orange, my least favorite color! It looked great in this). Mostly, I just didn’t fully connect with the story & the characters in the same way that I usually do with Pixar movies.


This review is coming across as far more negative than I’m intending. Sorry! Coco is a really good film. I just look at that list of Pixar movies above and most of them are stronger films than this one. And I consider both WALL-E & Inside Out to be damn near masterpieces that transcend the whole “Oh, that’s just an animated kids’ movie” thing. (Which isn’t how I feel about animated films – I just know that some people see them as nothing more than “cartoons”). Coco is no WALL-E or Inside Out or the beautiful beginning of Up but it’s also not some other studio’s piece of shit like Trolls or something. Yay, Pixar! You’re still the best. I’m sure Coco will grow on me after I see it on DVD several times…

My Rating: 7.5/10

**I did a “double feature” of Coco & Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (great combo!). I’ll try to review Three Billboards tomorrow or Friday. I really didn’t expect that to be the one that I preferred of the two but I liked it a lot.

Advertisements

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013) Review

20131105-100522 pm.jpg
Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013)

Directed by Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn

Starring Voice Actors:
Bill Hader
Anna Faris
James Caan
Andy Samberg
Neil Patrick Harris
Benjamin Bratt
Terry Crews
Will Forte
Kristen Schaal

Music by: Mark Mothersbaugh (Devo! Yo Gabba Gabba!)

Studio: Sony Pictures Animation

Running time: 95 minutes

Plot Synopsis:
Flint Lockwood’s invention, the FLDSMDFR, has not been destroyed as previously believed and is now creating food/animal hybrids which are attacking those trying to clean up the island. The FLDSMDFR must be stopped before these dangerous foodimals take over the world.

20131105-100651 pm.jpg
My Opinion:

I would love to have some of the drugs the filmmakers were on when they made this movie. I mean, the first film was crazy enough but this one is bananimals.

20131105-101109 pm.jpg
I’ve sort of seen the first film a couple of times (I slept through most of it the second time). It’s okay. You certainly can’t say the story lacked originality! That’s definitely the case this time around as well. It continues immediately after the end of the previous film (I think. From what I remember). After the FLDSMDFR is destroyed (or so everyone thinks), an inventor (& the CEO of Live Corp) named Chester V arrives to clean up the island with a team of other scientists while Flint and his friends are sent to live in California where Flint takes a job at Live Corp.

20131105-101200 pm.jpg
I felt that this section of the film was a little overlong and I was a bit bored. The movie is very slow to begin with. Luckily, Chester V needs Flint to come back to the island after his team of scientists are attacked by cheespiders (You know! Giant cheeseburgers with spidery French fry legs!). Turns out the FLDSMDFR wasn’t actually destroyed and it’s now churning out these crazy food/animal hybrids (foodimals, FYI) that could take over the planet. And Chester V needs Flint’s help to shut his invention down before more foodimals are created! Dun dun DUUUUUNNNN!

20131105-101246 pm.jpg
This is where the movie finally picks up and gets much better: When Flint & his friends come back to the island which is filled with all kinds of weird & wonderful foodimals. I was going to try to remember all their funny names for this review but, unfortunately, I’m old and have a terrible memory now. Let’s see…

20131105-101339 pm.jpg
I remember the huge “tacodiles”. Tacodile Supreme, actually. Um, Shrimpanzees? Watermelophants? Mosquitoast? And, of course, the “leek in the boat!”. Haha! The pickles that Flint’s father befriends are pretty funny and the family of marshmallows is adorable. But NOTHING is cuter than the little strawberry Flint’s girlfriend names… “Berry”! SO FREAKING ADORABLE! Okay, Berry totally made the whole movie for me. I want to adopt Berry. Berry can come live with me and we’ll watch things like Strawberry Shortcake together.

20131105-101421 pm.jpg
Really, I don’t know what else to say about this. It does have some funny moments but it’s all pretty mental. It’s nowhere near the level of the stuff we get from Pixar or Disney. The characters are all likeable enough but I’ve still not fully bought into any of them after two films in the way I did with Pixar characters like Sulley & Mike. It’s a fun enough film to sit through with your kids, though, and I like it more than the first one. Because Berry isn’t in the first one! Your kids will love it and you won’t hate it.

My Rating: 6/10

20131105-101508 pm.jpg

20131105-101522 pm.jpg

Despicable Me 2 (2013) Review

20130622-104328 PM.jpg
**SPOILER FREE REVIEW**

Despicable Me 2

Directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud

Starring Voice Actors:
Steve Carell
Russell Brand
Kristen Wiig
Benjamin Bratt
Steve Coogan
Ken Jeong
Miranda Cosgrove

Music by Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira

Studio: Illumination Entertainment
Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Plot Synopsis:

After becoming a father to Margo, Edith, and Agnes, Gru is no longer an evil mastermind and is instead throwing kids’ birthday parties & making jelly. That is, until he’s recruited by the Anti-Villain League and must help save the world from a new evil villain…

20130622-104428 PM.jpg
My Opinion:

I’m a HUGE fan of the first Despicable Me. It’s the first (and only) non-Disney or Pixar animated film that I’ve ever really liked. Everything about it is brilliant – the relationship between Gru and the three girls who are loveable without ever being overly saccharine and feisty without being bratty, the hilarious minions (one of the greatest cinematic creations in recent years in my opinion), and both Steve Carell & Russell Brand being genuinely funny instead of sometimes slightly annoying. Luckily, all these things are again present in Despicable Me 2.

20130622-104558 PM.jpg
It was never going to live up to the first one (not many sequels do). But at least it comes close, so I’m happy with that. It starts early on with a birthday party for Agnes, which reminds us how much Gru fell in love with these three girls and how he’d do anything for them. I love the relationship between Gru and the girls – It was great seeing that develop in the first one and to watch Gru go from villain to hero so, of course, we don’t get that in this film. But we still see plenty of Gru & the girls together in this one and, at the end, we get a moment ALMOST as sweet as when Gru reads the girls the story he wrote in the first Despicable Me (that scene gets me every time!). And we get Gru being a (very!) overly protective father when Margo starts showing an interest in boys. Some great funny scenes involved with that!

20130622-104655 PM.jpg
And then, of course, we have the MINIONS. Oh man – I love those little dudes so much! I want my own army of minions. And they’re as hilarious as always. Luckily, there are a lot more scenes with them in this one than in the first film. That’s a good thing (to me, at least). And they’re even more funny this time. I won’t spoil anything but I’ll say they sing a song at one point and the “lead singer” REALLY cracked me up. And there are so many little funny “blink and you’ll miss it” moments with the minions – it’s a lot like how you really need to pay attention to what’s happening in the background of Pixar films. The minions are just plain brilliant – I can see why they’re making a whole movie just about them.

20130622-104727 PM.jpg
I really have nothing bad to say about this film other than, overall, the plot was weaker than the one in the original movie. And the new character of Lucy Wilde, who works with Gru as part of the Anti-Villain League, borders on annoying (which is kind of the point anyway). But so does Kristen Wiig, who voices this character. But these are pretty minor things and didn’t ruin my enjoyment at again seeing these characters for whom I have such affection. And, again, the music is brilliant thanks to Pharrell Williams & Heitor Pereira – something I also loved about the first one. And Gru goes on a pretty hilarious date with a woman far more annoying than Kristen Wiig… Plus we have cross-dressing minions again – one dressed as a French maid and one in frilly underwear. Okay – maybe I’m immature but cross-dressing minions are awesome. 😉

20130622-104814 PM.jpg
Summary:

Doesn’t quite have the heart of the first one but definitely has all of the humor, if not more. This movie is genuinely hilarious, which is very hard for kids’ films to achieve (trust me – the adults in our sold-out cinema were laughing as much as the kids). Despicable Me 2 is just plain FUN. But, if for some reason you’ve not seen the first one, definitely watch it before seeing the sequel – you really need to understand the characters of Gru & the girls. You’re missing out if you’ve not seen the first one. If you have and if you love it, you won’t be disappointed by the sequel.

My Rating: 7.5/10

(If you’re curious, my 1st Despicable Me rating: 9/10)

20130622-104859 PM.jpg

20130622-110031 PM.jpg

**Forgot to add – there are quite a few funny extra scenes with the minions throughout the credits so you might want to stay for that. I believe there’s no scene AFTER the credits…

Movies I’ve Seen In 2013