After plenty of teasing, we have our first look at Coco, Pixar’s Día de los Muertos-themed movie about a young dreamer, an enchanted guitar, and a journey into the realm of the dead. Director Lee Unkrich has called the film, which was written and co-directed by Adrian Molina, “a love letter to Mexico,” with a cast that includes Gael García Bernal, Benjamin Bratt, Renée Victor, and newcomer Anthony Gonzalez as the film’s hero, Miguel.
The first trailer shows Miguel sitting spellbound as he strums a guitar and watches footage of his idol, musician Ernesto de la Cruz (Bratt), in defiance of a generations-old ban on music in his family. But when Miguel sneaks into Cruz’s mausoleum to hold the man’s famous guitar for himself, he is transported to the Land of the Dead (dazzlingly animated, as expected), where he will discover his family history with the help of his ancestors.
The movie’s themes and imagery will inevitably invite comparisons to that other animated Day of the Dead film, the Guillermo del Toro-produced The Book of Life, but the trailer’s young dreamer protagonist, mesmerized by footage of an artist from the past, is actually much more reminiscent of the hero of another Pixar movie: Remy, the rat who aspired to chefdom, in Ratatouille, who is mesmerized by another recently deceased artist, Chef Auguste Gusteau. And that moment when Miguel passes through a living person and realizes he’s no longer in the same realm is giving us strong Spirited Away vibes as well.
Coco hits theaters a few weeks after the Day of the Dead, on Thanksgiving weekend.