2017, Pixar/Walt Disney

This much-lauded film deserves the praise: it's visually rich, lovingly rendered and authentic in tone. Eight years in the making, every frame is a feast for the eyes. Why, then, does it not earn a full WOW? Three small problems—any one of which could be overlooked, but together get in the way. One, the story is overly-complex at times, with perhaps a couple too many characters and plot threads to follow. Another is Héctor, the "comic sidekick" that's a bit too "Disney"—that is, over-the-top in-your-face. And finally, the sentimentality is laid on pretty thickly, and by the end you've had one too many heartstrings yanked. This is not to suggest I didn't enjoy the film—far from it; but for an animated film cut from very similar cloth that beats Coco by a nose (and suggests the Pixar folks aren't quite as original as they may like us to believe), I enthusiastically recommend The Book of Life.






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