In Pixar's Coco, a Guitar Sends a Boy to the Land of the Dead

Illustration for article titled In Pixar's Coco, a Guitar Sends a Boy to the Land of the Dead

Up until now, we’ve only seen concept art from Pixar’s upcoming film, Coco. On Monday, Pixar tweeted the first actual image from the 2017 holiday film, directed Toy Story 3's Lee Unkrich.


What you see is a young boy named Miguel (voiced by Anthony Gonzalez) playing the guitar of music legend Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt). Sounds innocent enough, but the guitar is located in de la Cruz’s grave, and not only is Miguel not supposed to be there, his family has banned music altogether.

Playing the guitar will send Miguel into the Land of the Dead where he’ll confront his ancestors and attempt to find de la Cruz himself—which basically means this one image is the most crucial part of Coco’s set up.

Pixar has never made a movie so rooted in actual culture and history, so Coco has that on its shoulders, as well as the usual pressure of being a Pixar film. “The day John Lasseter gave the thumbs up for this movie, I immediately felt this huge weight drop onto my shoulders,” Unkrich told Entertainment Weekly. “I knew that we were doing something different than we had ever made at the studio and that for the first time, we were going to have this enormous responsibility to do right by this culture and not lapse into stereotype or cliché.”

Coco is scheduled for release Nov. 22, 2017.

Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo. Formerly of Premiere, EW, Us Weekly, and Slashfilm. AP Award-Winning Film Critic and CCA member. Loves Star Wars, posters, Legos, and often all three at once.


I dunno, this seems oddly derivative of The Book of Life. I realize key plot points are a bit different but still, the emphasis on guitar playing, the land of the dead, and music being frowned upon by the family are just similar enough to raise eyebrows.