Why Coco’s Music Was So Challenging For the Pixar Team To Get Right

Coco Miguel Guitar

As a deep dive into Mexican culture and the traditions of Day of the Dead, Coco is a genuinely authentic film, and it's unlike anything that we have ever seen from Pixar before. In fact, I sat down with Coco composer Michael Giacchino during a visit to Pixar Animation Studios in August, and he admitted that authenticity was one of the most difficult aspects of the film, noting,

Keeping it authentic. Keeping it feeling of that world. Making sure that what we were doing was in-line with all of the different styles and different variations of the music of Mexico. I mean that was the number one priority. We wanted to feel true to that world and to that place. At the same time we were also serving a story so we wanted to make sure that the story is being told properly too, but I think it was so fun to be able to look and think of different ways and different instruments in order to, that you normally wouldn't use.

The sheer amount of effort that the Coco crew put into creating a truly Mexican movie is nothing short of astonishing. Coco's creative team immersed itself in Mexican culture, and then everyone involved in the film blended that intensive research with a story that they wanted to tell. For Michael Giacchino, that meant finding the right music genres and instruments that would make Coco feel like something truly out of the heart of Mexico -- as opposed to some other movies, which apparently often try to pass Spanish or South American music off as Mexican.

Of course, Michael Giacchino also made sure to note that he has faced some version of this challenge on his other Pixar projects like Inside Out and Ratatouille. The composer also explained to CinemaBlend that authenticity was a unique challenge for Coco, but each entry in the Pixar canon has provided its own unique hurdles and obstacles. Giacchino elaborated:

Each film presents its own different challenges. You look at the Pixar films as a very diverse group of, at least the ones I have done, I know that each one that I have done has been a very different musical palate on each one. This one was no different. It was a challenge to be respectful and be authentic and we all worked very hard to make sure that that happened.

Coco is now in theaters and making a boatload of money at the box office, so that extra effort clearly paid off in the end. If you haven't already, make sure to take a look at CinemaBlend's in-depth review of the film, as well as our To 3D guide to figure out which ticket you should buy for the latest Pixar hit!

Conner Schwerdtfeger

Originally from Connecticut, Conner grew up in San Diego and graduated from Chapman University in 2014. He now lives in Los Angeles working in and around the entertainment industry and can mostly be found binging horror movies and chugging coffee.