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Animated Pixar Studios film in which Miguel, the son of a long line of relatives who have learned to despise music, aspires to be a musician. He lives with his mother and father, grandmother, and Coco, his old great-grandmother. His idol is Ernesto de la Cruz, who was a popular singer and film star who died young but left behind a trove of beautiful songs. The Day of the Dead is approaching, and his family has all of the pictures and candles ready to remember the deceased relatives. Desperate to find a guitar to enter a local musical talent contest, Miguel sneaks into the de la Cruz museum and takes the guitar. In the process, he finds himself back in the land of the dead and to get back to his family; he needs the blessing of one of his deceased relatives. I enjoyed this movie. The animation is quite spectacular, and the colors are eye-popping. The voices for the characters are perfect (I especially enjoyed Anthony Gonzales, who voices Miguel, and Gael Garcia Bernal, who is the voice of Hector who accompanies Miguel on his journey across the other side. And I loved the story, which provides a wildly fantastic, rich and inventive description of how the Day of the Dead “works”. And, finally, the song near the end, “Remember Me”, is fantastic and beautiful (it should be an Oscar-nominated song). Big thumbs up from me for a wonderful all-ages story that is about memory and loss and that tells the tale of the Day of the Dead, similar to Book of Life, but in a much more satisfying way.

About Gary Burkholder

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