Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My In-Depth Coco Blu-Ray Review

disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review

Yesterday (February 27th) was a big day for Pixar and Coco fans! Not only was the film released on DVD/Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD, but it was also declared "Coco Day" in Los Angeles by L.A. City Council member Gil Cedillo. A celebration of the film and its home video release was held at the Los Angeles City Hall yesterday morning with some of the cast and filmmakers (which you can read about HERE). Today I'm giving you my full review of the Blu-Ray and what to expect from all the fabulous bonus content!

I know the digital release has been available to own since February 13th, but since I'm a Blu-Ray collector (yup, I still prefer discs—call me old school), I was fine with holding off and waiting the extra two weeks to get my physical copy. Today I'm diving into the standard DVD+ Blu-Ray+Digital HD Combo Pack (now called "Multi-Screen Edition"), which I pre-ordered at the Disney Store (and got a free lithograph set). I know there are other releases out there as well, such as the mentioned 4K release, the Target edition with included storybook and the Best Buy SteelBook edition, but all the special features are the same across the board this time around (which always makes things easier).

disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review
disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review

I'm not gonna waste any time here—Let's get right to it!

  •  Audio Commentary (running time 1:44:59 *length of film*)— Director Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson have an in depth discussion about the film! I haven't had time to listen to the entire commentary quite yet, but what I've heard is as interesting as ever (expect talk of Easter eggs ;). Audio commentaries are my favorite part of any Pixar home video release, so I was anticipating this one a ton.
  • Welcome to the Fiesta with optional audio commentary (2:19)—This was really cool to see included here since this clip was actually the very first test animation for Coco ever revealed to an audience outside of Pixar. They call it a diorama, which is essentially a proof of concept. It was basically them exploring what this world would look like, the tone of it and how the characters would look and move. It was originally shown during the 2015 D23 Expo's Animation Panel and I was lucky enough to have been there. I've had a memory of it over the last few years, but it was growing distant (since, in the moment, it came and went so fast). It was fun to watch it again now that I've seen the final film. 

  • Mi Familia (9:59)— This feature dives deep into the meaning of family, the importance of rules and traditions and how that all tied into the development of Miguel's family in Coco through the filmmakers' personal experiences and relationships. It's really sweet and insightful—it was especially fun to learn of some traditional aspects of Mexican families that were implemented into the film. 

  • Dante (6:15)—Here the crew of Coco discuses the unique Mexican breed of dog (Xoloitzcuintli, or “Xolo” dog) that inspired Dante. This one I was a little less interested in, but it's interesting stuff nonetheless and sheds some light on yet another Mexican tradition brought to life in Coco.

  • How to Draw a Skeleton (3:17)— This one was fun for me to watch since it features my good friend Danny Arriaga, who was the character art director on Coco. Watching this was like getting to hang out with him for a couple minutes again, so that was pretty special. Though I have no drawing abilities whatsoever, I might have to give drawing his style of skeleton a try now...

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVES (Access these features when you redeem the included digital copy of the film)-
  • "Remember Me" Music Video (2:51)— A nicely shot music video of the Coco end credits version of "Remember Me", preformed by Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade. This is the same video was officially uploaded on YouTube days before the film's theatrical release (seen HERE). 

  • The Characters of Coco (8:20)— Director Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson give you an exclusive peek at the Coco concept art gallery found on the second floor of the Steve Job's building at Pixar Studios. For me, this was surreal to watch since I was just there in that location getting a private tour of the same gallery back in November. It's still crazy to me that that experience actually happened! Here the filmmakers give you insights into the main characters and their development—including highlighting many of the voice actors (it's nice to able to put faces to names/voices). This is a must watch. 

  • The Music of Coco (13:12)—This is an amazing featurette on the importance of music in Coco and how the filmmaking team researched/gathered different styles of authentic Mexican music (plus the research that went into accurately animating it). I'll sum up this documentary with a quote from Camilo Lara (Cultural Music Consultant for Coco): "To try to define the heart of Mexican folk music is very tough. It must be as tough as saying why tacos taste so good in Mexico." Such a good one. 😂
  • The Real Guitar (3:06)—This is a nice little mini featurette (slow moving, but creatively shot/edited) showing the creation of Ernesto's iconic guitar in real life, as well as insights from one the designers.
  • A Thousand Pictures a Day (20:04)—This is the longest documentary (which I appreciated). Essentially a travelogue, this one covers the painstaking process of research done during the development of Coco in order to represent Mexican culture in the most authentic and respectable way possible. It's so touching to see the real life inspiration behind what you see in the final film (humble families of potters, shoemakers, etc. who have such a love for each other; plus seeing their villages, their ofrendas and more). One of my favorite parts was seeing the real artisans behind actual alebrijes and papel picado banners.
  • You Got the Part! (2:12)—A cute little clip of actor Anthony Gonzalez's reaction when it was announced to him that he officially got the part of Coco's lead character Miguel. What an amazing accomplishment! An opportunity of a lifetime.
  • How to Make a Papel Picado (2:18)—This is a very quick tutorial with Pixar Visual Development Artist Ana Ramirez (illustrator of the Coco inspired book Miguel and the Grand Harmony) on how to make a simple papel picado banner. I feel like after watching this though, mine would still not come out so good.
  • Paths to Pixar: Coco (11:44)—As part of the ongoing "Paths to Pixar" series (which dates back to The Incredibles home video release I believe), here the filmmakers (artists, animators, writers, producers, etc.) discus openly about their personal journeys to joining the Pixar family, as well as Mexican representation in film. As someone still trying to figure out where my life is headed career-wise, it's nice to be able to relate to other artists who have tried, failed and changed direction numerous times before finding their place. It's inspiring to hear each and every story and to see how each person's hard work and passion has paid off.
  • Fashion Through the Ages (8:37)—Another amazing short documentary, this time all about the fashion elements in the film; from designing the costumes to the animation/technical side of it. You don't even think about how much work goes into the costumes until you see this. It's mind boggling! We're talking costumes for both the land of the living and the land of the dead, not to mention all the different time periods represented. Just wow!
  • Land of Our Ancestors (6:17): This featurette takes us to the land of the dead as the filmmakers talk about creating this brand new, never before seen world (the rules, the design and more). Once again, there is some fascinating stuff here that is not to be missed. You will not look at the film in the same way after viewing this.
  • Un Poco “Coco” (3:05)—A montage of original animated pieces (known as "toolkits") used to promote the film. A feature like this is always found on on Pixar home releases and they are what they are. 

  • 7 Deleted Scenes with Introductions - Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of Coco. I'm not going to detail each one, though I will say they're an interesting watch. None of them I thought "man I wish this was in the film." I think the correct choices were made and I feel like they nailed the direction they ended up taking! It's hard to picture the film any other way and I will honestly say I'm glad the "break out into song" style musical idea was scrapped.

  • o   Día de los Muertos (5:25)– In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.

    o   The Way of the Riveras (5:55)– A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.

    o   Celebrity Tour (5:09)– Héctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.

    o   The Bus Escape (4:38)– The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz. 

    o   Alebrije Attack (3:12)– Miguel and Héctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije. 

    o   The Family Fix (4:31)– After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home. 

    o   To the Bridge (3:08)– As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Día de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.

    And finally, as usual, there is a collection of five trailers (including Dante's Lunch), but those speak for themselves. 

    WOW. Well there we have it everyone! That only took... the entire day to get through. Phew! I think that covers just about everything though and I enjoyed it all so much. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking through my entire review! This is a great release and I feel very content with what we got here bonus feature-wise. This is a must own! Now excuse me while I go finish watching the film with the audio commentary... 

    FILM- 5 out of 5 stars
    BONUS CONTENT (excluding commentary)- 4.5 out of 5 stars
    IMAGE/SOUND QUALITY- 5 out of 5 stars

    What are some of your thoughts? Be sure to share in the comments below!

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