Adventure Animation

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review: 'Coco' Brings the Dead to Life Like Never Before

February 27, 2018Ben MK

The story of a boy who finds himself crossing the boundary separating the Land of the Living and the Land of the Dead, Coco follows Miguel Rivera (newcomer Anthony Gonzalez), a 12-year-old with aspirations to be a famous musician just like his idol, the late singer/guitarist/movie star Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt).

Directed by Toy Story 3's Lee Unkrich and co-directed by Adrian Molina, Coco is a prime example of Pixar movie magic. On the surface, it's a whimsical, visually resplendent and kid-friendly romp filled with music, skeletons whose eyeballs have a tendency to drop into their jaws, and rainbow-colored spirit animals called Alebrije. However, none of that undermines the emotional maturity of the story, which Molina and fellow screenwriter Matthew Aldrich have rooted in Miguel's quest to connect with the great-great-grandfather he never knew.

That said, it should come as no surprise that Coco knows how to pull on audiences' heartstrings. However, even if you've grown weary of Pixar's tried-and-true approach, it's hard not to appreciate the care the filmmakers have put into this love letter to Mexico. Not since 2012's Brave has Pixar staked so much on cultural themes, and it pays off here in spades, bestowing Coco with a color and a flavor far beyond Pixar's usually vibrant visuals.

The end result is a sure bet for Best Animated Feature at this year's Oscars. Bursting with heart, memorable music and terrific performances, Coco is a breath of fresh air among the usual crowd of big budget action movies and blockbuster comedies. Only the most jaded would disagree.

The thing that will jump out at you the most about Coco is the color palette, and this 4K transfer does not disappoint. From the glowing orange marigold petals to the neon greens, yellows, purples, blues and pinks of the Alibrije, this is easily Pixar's most vibrant production yet, and it looks wondrous in HDR. Of course, it also goes without saying that the 2160p image quality is razor-sharp and pixel-perfect, and when paired with the disc's Dolby Atmos sound mix, which fills the air with the film's Mexican-inspired soundtrack and little touches like the sounds of the skeletons' rattling bones, the results are absolutely sublime.

Disney's three-disc "Ultimate Collector's Edition" includes an iTunes digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found spread across the two Blu-ray discs in the set:

  • Welcome to the Fiesta (2:16) - A proof-of-concept piece of animation, playable with commentary by Director Lee Unkrich, Co-Director/Screenwriter Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson.
  • Mi Familia (10:00) - The filmmakers talk about how Mexican culture and their own families have influenced the movie.
  • Dante (6:14) - A look at the character of Dante and the research the filmmakers and animators did to bring him to life on-screen.
  • How to Draw a Skeleton (3:18) - Character Art Director Daniel Arriaga shows viewers how to draw a skeleton.
  • Feature Commentary - Unkrich, Molina and Anderson talk about the evolution of the film's opening, the development of the story, the research they did for the movie in Mexico, the music, the vocal performances, the visual effects, the character design and the animation, the production design, the sets and the lighting, and more.
  • A Thousand Pictures a Day (20:03) - The Pixar team travel to Mexico to capture the culture and the art of the country through photos and sketches.
  • The Music of Coco (13:12) - A look at the traditional instruments and musical styles that comprise the film's score, as well as some of the original songs created for the soundtrack.
  • Land of Our Ancestors (6:19) - The Pixar team talk about bringing the Land of the Dead to life.
  • Fashion Through the Ages (8:39) - A look at the different time periods and regions of Mexico represented through the film's costumes.
  • The Real Guitar (3:08) - Guitar maker German Vazquez Rubio and Lighting Concept Artist Ernesto Nemesio discuss creating Ernesto de la Cruz's guitar.
  • Paths to Pixar: Coco (11:44) - Pixar's Mexican American team members talk about their culture, their careers and representation in cinema.
  • How to Make Papel Picado (2:19) - Sketch Artist Ana Ramirez shows viewers how to make the traditional Mexican paper art.
  • You Got the Part! (2:12) - Footage of the moment Anthony Gonzalez found out that he got the part of Miguel.
  • Deleted Scenes (33:07) - Seven scenes ("Día de Los Muertos," "The Way of the Riveras," "Celebrity Tour," "The Bus Escape," "Alibrije Attack," "The Family Fix" and "To the Bridge"), plus an introduction from Unkrich and Molina.
  • Trailers & Promos (12:01) - Five trailers ("Feeling - United States Trailer #1," "Dante's Lunch - Web Exclusive," "Destiny - Mexico Trailer," "Journey - Brazil Trailer" and "Belong - Australia Trailer") and one promo ("Un Poco Coco").

Coco is available from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment as of February 27th, 2018. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, and English Dolby Digital 2.0 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 1 hr. 45 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on November 22nd, 2017.

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