It would be easy, all too easy, to dismiss this flick as a politically-correct attempt by a major motion picture studio to cater to the Hispanic demographic. I was apprehensive, myself. But my doubts were quickly swept away, as the movie hit all of my right buttons: a paean to family, honesty, love, and courage. Which still crosses ethnic lines.
It's also gorgeous to watch.
The hero is not Coco. Took me a few minutes to get that straight in my head. It's Miguel. He's a young boy with big dreams in a big family. Unfortunately, his big dreams do not involve the family business, which is shoes. He wants to be a musician, like his hero, the late Ernesto de la Cruz, a movie star/crooner.
Miguel's problems also involve the Day of the Dead, the Mexican holiday where everyone's passed-away ancestors are officially remembered. Due to some supernatural mixup, Miguel is transported to the Land of the Dead, where everyone's a skeleton except him. He gets to know his non-living ancestors. But—hey, just maybe—he can meet up with de la Cruz and get his blessing…
One amazing thing about this movie is its consistent rules about the interactions between the real world and the dead world. Yes, once you buy the premise, and why shouldn't you, it all makes a certain amount of wonderful sense.
Small hint/spoiler: as is common in Pixar movies, the villain is… I can say no more.
Also, I liked the doggie. Pay attention to the doggie. More there than meets the eye.