Coco 4K Blu-ray Review
By Chris Heinonen on
In Disney•Pixar’s “Coco,” Pixar Animation Studios’ 19th feature film, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt)—despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music. Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history.
Coco is one of the finest films to come from Pixar in a long time. Miguel’s journey to do what he wants to do, in cases where his family doesn’t fully understand, is something that both adults and kids can relate to. While he obviously is going to learn something about himself and his family along the way, at no time does it feel preachy or saccharine but instead is very heartfelt. It continues the tradition of managing to make grown adults tear up, and is one of the best films from 2017.
Coco is all CGI and rendered at a 2K native resolution, as rendering 4K animation is just too complex for current computers. While it was shown theatrically in Dolby Cinema, there is no Dolby Vision version on the disc. Compared to the 1080p Blu-ray, the 4K disc doesn’t offer as much improvement as you might hope. The image is sharp, but the use of HDR and expanded color gamut is lower than expected. Watching the film in theaters I expected the 4K Blu-ray release to be fantastic because of the opportunities that it had with HDR, but overall it is used sparingly.
The color gamut does look to be larger than on Blu-ray, but the overall image is often slightly dark or dim. People directly comparing it to the Blu-ray disc might find it to be dimmer, but that is only because of HDR having fixed output levels and this is how they want it to look. While Coco doesn’t pop off the screen like I hoped it would, it still looks quite good overall.
Coco features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack, though the disc defaults to Dolby Digital by default. You will need to select the Atmos track (Track 1, while Track 3 is the default) to take advantage of it. The Atmos track does a good job with dynamics and putting you the middle of the action. Since the default audio setting meant I accidentally listened to the Dolby Digital soundtrack a few time, the Atmos track is much better. Vocals are better defined, sounds are placed much better, and the dynamics are improved with a cleaner background. If you were only to stream Coco, you would get the Dolby Digital track, and the lossless one is way beyond that, making the disc a worthy purchase for the improved audio quality in a film that revolves around music.
- Deleted Scenes with Introductions – Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of “Coco.”
- Dia de los Muertos – In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Dia de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.
- The Way of the Riveras – A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Dia de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.
- Celebrity Tour – Hector, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.
- The Bus Escape – The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and He?ctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.
- Alebrije Attack – Miguel and He?ctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije.
- The Family Fix – After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home.
- To the Bridge – As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Dia de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.
- Filmmaker Commentary – Presented by Lee Unkrich (director), Adrian Molina (co-director) and Darla K. Anderson (producer).
- The Music of “Coco” – Collaborating with musicians of Mexico and some unique instrumentation, this documentary explores the beautiful fusion of music essential to the story of “Coco.”
- Paths to Pixar: “Coco” – Explore how the film crew’s personal stories resonate with the themes of the movie itself.
- Welcome to the Fiesta – A musical exploration of the skeletons that make the Land of the Dead in “Coco” so wondrous and intriguing.
- How to Draw a Skeleton – Pixar artist Daniel Arriaga gives a lesson on the quick and easy way to draw skeletons using simple shapes.
- A Thousand Pictures a Day – Join the “Coco” crew on an immersive travelogue through Mexico, visiting families, artisans, cemeteries, and small villages during the Día de los Muertos holiday.
- Mi Familia – Developing the Riveras was a labor of love that took the cast and crew on a deep dive into the meaning of family.
- Land of Our Ancestors – Watch Pixar artists lovingly construct layer upon layer of architecture from many eras of Mexican history, bringing the Land of the Dead to life.
- Fashion Through the Ages – The cast of characters in “Coco” are from many different eras, making for some magnificent costuming opportunities.
- The Real Guitar – The majestic guitar that spurs Miguel on his journey through the Land of the Dead is a unique creation. Watch as it is initially designed by a Pixar artist and ultimately realized as a real instrument by a master luthier in this poetic ode to craftsmanship.
- Dante – How the crew fell in love with the uniquely Mexican breed of Xoloitzcuintli (or “Xolo”) dogs that inspired Dante.
- How to Make Papel Picado – Join Pixar artist Ana Rami?rez Gonza?lez as we learn how papel picado is made traditionally, and then try your own approach to this beautiful art form.
- Un Poco “Coco” – A montage of original animated pieces used to promote “Coco.”
“Coco Trailers” – Trailers include “Feeling,” “Dante’s Lunch,” “Destiny,” “Journey” and “Belong.”
A wonderful return to form for Pixar with one of the best films of 2017, very good Atmos soundtrack and lots of detail in the image.
Image is a bit dark with not as much use of HDR as you might like, disc defaults to Dolby Digital soundtrack instead of Atmos.
Coco is one of the best films of 2017 that everyone in the family can enjoy. Highly recommended on disc as the improvement in the soundtrack over the streaming version is quite big.