Pixar arguably has one of the best track-records of any major studio in Hollywood, and it doesn't look like the animation giant has slowed down in recent years. In fact, with today's release of Coco, it seems that Pixar may be firing on all cylinders like never before. On that note, I had the chance to sit down with Ernesto de la Cruz voice actor Benjamin Bratt to talk about Coco's stirring core, and he admitted that he thinks the Day of the Dead-inspired film has Pixar's strongest emotional catharsis yet. When I asked him to explain his rationale, Bratt said:
Having read this script before we started performing, I think this delivers what would arguably be the biggest emotional impact of all of their films in their canon. I think so. I think it's a masterpiece, to be quite frank with you... The beauty of the film. The artistry. The attention to detail. The emotional impact of what it delivers by the end is undeniable. I am really so proud to be part of it.
That's pretty high praise when we consider the pantheon of films produced by Pixar in recent years. Between projects like Toy Story 3 and Wall-E, to name a few, the animation studio has handily become known for its ability to induce the waterworks. Without diving too far into spoiler territory, all Benjamin Bratt would definitively say is that Coco builds to a payoff in its final act that has the potential to surpass anything that Pixar has done over the years. Add the sheer amount of beautiful imagery and attention to detail that the Pixar team has included, and Bratt seems comfortable classifying Coco as a "masterpiece."
It's hard not to think that Coco seems like the type of story that's tailor-made to tug at your heartstrings. As a story about a young boy's journey in The Land of the Dead on Dia de Los Muertos, the concepts of death and loss are always at the forefront of the story. When speaking with CinemaBlend about the development of the film in August, the Coco team made sure to note that they took careful steps to avoid making the semi-musical morbid or dark in any way, but they understood the value of telling story that didn't shy away from the inherent emotional impact that death and the afterlife imply.
There's definitely an argument to be made that Benjamin Bratt is not wrong. Coco has already started to generate some serious critical buzz, and the film is poised to win Thanksgiving weekend --possibly even beating out DC's Justice League. It takes something special for such an achievement, and it looks like Coco is that special something.