3 (out of 4)
The worst thing to point out about Coco is how much it feels like a Disney film rather than a true Pixar joint – the 20-minute Frozen Christmas special playing beforehand, as opposed to their usual original shorts, only makes this more obvious. But excluding the out of the blue brilliance that was Inside Out, Coco is their best non-sequel film of late, and still a rather predictable one at that.
Standard and solid, Coco is likely to be forgotten along with the likes of Brave and The Good Dinosaur, but in the moment it's actually rather emotionally wrenching when it needs to be. The appeal to family values and adherence to the simple cinematic needs of the very young coalesces into the unfortunately rare Pixar feature that doesn't play effectively to every age. The times in which the film addresses the importance of music over dull domestic assurance is where the best ideas of Coco are – by thankfully avoiding doing a musical altogether, the songs that are in fact incorporated are poignant as well.
If nothing else the land of the dead concept is cleverly conceived and illustrated, if you don’t think too hard about this film's version of the nature of legacy, death and remembrance. Everything about Coco's structure is of a well-worn template, but the visuals are of anticipated vibrancy and its emotional beats are struck sound and clear. If only it felt like anything close to an enduring, one of a kind animated feature, which is to say, a genuine Pixar classic.
To keep it brief...