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Traveling to Mexico Changed How I Watch COCO

Editor’s note: This article is guest written by Hector Navarro

It’s hard to explain the level of care and detail that goes into Pixar films in words alone—sometimes you just have to experience it. The animation studio is known for taking years to make sure the most minute details making their way to the screen are also the most authentic. This is particularly evident in their latest stand-out, Coco—now available on home video!—the Mexican fairy tale filled with so many references and a wealth of impressive historical knowledge, I traveled to Mexico to recreate a Pixar research trip to understand the full scope.

But let’s rewind for a moment and explain why Coco is such a big deal. In case you missed it, Coco recently became the highest grossing film of all time in Mexico. Not just highest grossing animated movie, but film—PERIOD. And it’s true, Coco is a massive hit in Mexico, as evidenced by the multiple times Coco writer and co-director Adrian Molina was mobbed by groups of teenage girls holding stuffed Nemo figures. He took pictures and signed autographs, but it was clear this wasn’t the normal response directors of animated movies receive in Mexico. Or anywhere or that matter. Coco means a lot to Mexicans.

From the larger importance of family, to tiny details like Abuela using a chancla to exact family justice (suggested to the filmmakers by a member of their cultural consultant group), Coco is undeniably authentic in a way you rarely see. These tiny details became apparent to the filmmakers through extensive conversations with their cultural consultant group, as well as witnessing them for themselves on their many research trips south of the border. I got to experience Mexico in this same way firsthand when Disney brought a group of journalists on a similar research-type trip that Pixar had been taking as far back as 2011, when they began developing Coco.

Coco comes with a ton of entertaining behind-the-scenes Blu-Ray special features that look at how the film was developed, including a feature on the type of dog Dante is (a Xoloitzcuintli—pronounced “show-low-eats-queen-tlee”, or “Xolo”—dog.) It also includes a look at the music of Coco, a wonderful commentary track for the movie, and much more. But the one I have to highlight, is a feature called “Paths to Pixar: Coco,” where the movie’s latinx crew shares stories of how they ended up working at Pixar on Coco, and it is incredibly inspirational. This is going to have a massive impact on young latinx animation fans, and I can’t wait to hear some of their stories years from now.

And now, at long last, Disney/Pixar’s Coco is available on home video. The Academy Award-winning movie is available digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD and on Movies Anywhere, as well as physically on Blu-Ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD and On-Demand. Unfortunately, there are no plans to release Coco on 3D Blu-Ray in the United States (which is a bummer for us 3D Blu-Ray enthusiasts, although the UK and China get 3D Coco) but there’s still plenty to be excited about—especially when you get to head to Mexico and recreate Pixar’s research trip for yourself.

While you might not be able to exactly recreate Pixar’s trips the way that I did, you can learn more about my time in Mexico and the incredible sights we saw in the video above. At the end of the trip, I realized how artistic Mexican people are and have always been. I was inspired by the importance of art in Mexican culture. And I was proud to come from a culture that values art and tradition as much as the proud people of Mexico.

But tell me — what’s your favorite part of Coco? What is a film that you came to appreciate even more after traveling? Let us know in the comments below.

Need More Coco?

Images: Disney; Hector Navarro

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