Step aside Dora the Explorer, Miguel Rivera has become the hottest Latino animated character.
Thanks to ‘Coco’ – a Disney-Pixar movie that has raked in more than $121 million at the U.S. box office in less than two weeks – Mexican Americans and other Latinos throughout the country have applauded a colorful and authentic film that shares the true meaning of familia.
Movie critics and moviegoers have fallen in love with the Día de los Muertos-inspired film.
The New York Times critic wrote: “If this movie doesn’t quite reach the highest level of Pixar masterpieces, it plays a time-tested tune with captivating originality and flair.”
Grownups, both men and women, admit they have cried during the movie.
Self-proclaimed historians have ranted about the movie’s lack of the indigenous (there isn’t).
Others see a controlled border between the Land of the Dead and real life as a sublimal message (no it doesn’t).
Here are five things you should know about my thoughts on this movie.
1. Who is this Olaf guy I keep hearing about?
That would be the character Olaf from the animated ‘The Frozen Adventures of Olaf,’ a 22-minute short film that has been playing before ‘Coco.’ Some folks have walked out of the theater, thinking they were in the wrong place.
Others have complained about the length of the short.
There’s good news. After Dec. 7, movie theaters will stop showing the short film due to it was scheduled for a limited run.
Bad news: Those who watch the Spanish-language version of ‘Coco,’ must sit through a Spanish-speaking Olaf until Dec. 8.
2. If there’s a sequel to ‘Coco,’ which character would be best to build on?
Wow! There are so many here.
Frida, Pedro Infante, Cantinflas, Jorge Negrete, Diego Rivera are the best known characters.
But, Miguel’s family has some characters of its own as well.
Then there is Héctor (no spoiler alert here), who plays a critical role as the charming Land of the Dead resident who appears to be interested only in himself.
Our bet: Bring back a resurrected Ernesto de la Cruz as he clashes with an up-and-coming artist (Miguel).
3. OK, which is the best version of the movie to watch?
As great as the animation is, we didn’t see a need to see the 3D version.
The movie was great in either language, but our nod goes to the Spanish-language one because ‘Recuérdame’ (Remember Me) brings out the warmth and beauty of that song so much better.
4. I’ve heard about México’s golden era in cinema? What movies I should see that reflect that time period?
That period from 1936 to 1959 generated a ton of memorable movies, especially those with singing charros like Infante and Negrete.
The great website remezcla.com has compiled a list of must-see movies from this era.
There are three we highly recommend.
‘Nosotros los Pobres’ (We the Poor), a 1947 film starring Pedro Infante as a humble carpenter who unites his neighborhood to fight institutional justice when he is wrongfully accused of a murder.
‘El Bolero de Raquel’ (Raquel’s Shoeshine Boy), a 1957 movie which was Cantinflas’ first appearance in a color film. It also stars Flor Silvestre.
‘Me He de Comer Esa Tuna’ (I Should Eat that Cactus Fruit), a 1945 comedy which pits two men against each other for the hand of a young woman. Negrete and Antonio Badú are wonderful in this movie which also puts Negrete’s singing in the spotlight.
5. Was there anything that you didn’t like about ‘Coco,’ other than the Olaf short?
No. But, there was a quick scene where Ernesto de la Cruz’s name was spelled Pedro De La Cruz ... but that would be nit-picking.