by Julia Pierrepont III
LOS ANGELES, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Disney's universally-acclaimed hit, "Coco," has summoned up 110 million U.S. dollars in the North American box office and an additional 170 million U.S. dollars worldwide, for a global cume of 280 million U.S. dollars to date.
China's 43.7-million-U.S.-dollars-grossing second weekend was able to outstrip the North American second weekend of 26 million U.S. dollars, bringing its Chinese ticket sales to 75.4 million U.S. dollars. It is Disney-Pixar's second most successful release of all time, behind "Zootopia."
In a tour de force that only Pixar-Disney could have pulled off, "Coco" brings the dearly departed to life on the big screen.
The New York Times said it is one of those Pixar movies that "attempt a conceptual breakthrough, an application of the bright colors and open emotionalism of modern, mainstream animation to an unlikely zone of experience... And now it has set out to make a family-friendly cartoon about death."
But how does one make a children's movie about the Dead without scaring them to death?
"In this telling, the Land of the Dead is not a fearsome place, but rather a never-ending skeleton party conducted in a glorious multi-tiered city that rises from sea-level houseboats to vast, imperious towers inhabited by celebrities such as de la Cruz-all of them connected by arched bridges and aerial trams," The Atlantic explains.
"Coco" wraps its exploration of the netherworld in an engaging coming-of-age story about a 12-year old Mexican boy, Miguel Rivera, who is desperate to play the music forbidden by his stubborn family and accidentally crosses over to the Land of the Dead during Mexico's famed Dia de los Muertes. Against mounting odds, he must get the blessing of the spirit of his mysterious, nameless grandfather in order to return to the land of the living before dawn breaks, otherwise he would be trapped amongst the departed.
Pixar's latest offering is a dazzling display of color and textures that envisions a possible "Heavenly Hereafter" for Mexico -- a culture beloved for its vibrant color palette, exotic traditional costumes, festive music, among others.
Mexican religious observances are a fascinating, cross-cultural mix of Christian Catholicism, folklore, and native rituals that date back to the local pre-classical Mayan Indian culture. Mexico's pre-Columbian festivities were dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl or "Lady of the Dead."
Not just a feast for the eyes, the animation comedy is a joyful celebration that takes us on a mesmerizing journey deep into another culture, as Moana and Mujan did, that simultaneously charts the divergent forces of family, duty and identity that bind the whole family of Man.
There are poignant life lessons as well: on the power of love, compassion, and self-actualization, about healing generationalized family feuds, and finding a fulfilling balance between the courage of one's own convictions and familial duty.
Commenting on the animation film, Variety's Peter DeBruge said, "In an era when young people are so easily seduced by celebrity, Coco reveals the emptiness of such adulation, poignantly teaching them to preserve and respect the memory of their elders, while reminding them that the source of true creativity is so often personal."
Or as Carl Jung once advised to those on the cusp of selfhood, "Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakes."
Miguel learned, by awakening to his own gifts, "Music in the soul can be heard by the universe."