4K Blu-ray Reviews

‘Coco’ 4K UHD Blu-ray Review


Quick Take: Coco is one of the most impressive 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray releases yet. It's colors are off-the-charts, thanks in part to its purely digital creation.

Disney and Pixar’s Coco both unlocks the heart and potential of 4K Ultra HD with HDR. It’s a bounce back effort from arguably the best animation studio in the world following the rather formulaic sequel, Cars 3.

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich returns behind the camera after seven years to tell the tale of a young Mexican boy, Miguel, and his struggles to find a place in the world. His family history dictates he should make shoes. His passion is to play the guitar, even if his family despises how his great grandfather abandoned his wife and child to chase musical aspirations.

Miguel’s dreams pursuit leads him to accidentally stumble into the Land of the Dead. Audiences obviously cannot relate to a fantastical world where vibrant colors literally pop off the screen and deceased loved ones look straight out of Dia de los Muertos. Everyone, young or old, can relate to Miguel doing everything in his power to ensure his family understands where he’s coming from.

Coco satisfies right through to its Pixar trademark conclusion where tissues may be required. The only stumble is foreshadowing comes on a bit strong to take away from some of the twists and turns served up in the final act.

Not only is Coco a step up in storytelling from Cars 3, it’s an improvement in 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray presentation as the second film from the animation studio released on the format. There’s a noticeable difference in color range during the Land of the Dead sequences, especially when Miguel is hiding from his family in a variety of dimly lit areas.

Sadly the Coco 4K UHD Blu-ray does not include Dolby Vision HDR despite appearing with Dolby Cinema theatrically. This exclusion makes you wonder if the Land of the Dead could be even more colorful than how it’s presented here.

Dolby Atmos audio is included with one notable caveat. For whatever reason the disc defaults to Dolby Digital. Once the manual change is made, there’s a distinct increase in fidelity quality, especially where dialogue is concerned. You’ll especially appreciate Dolby Atmos when Miguel plays his guitar for the first time and the music fills the room. Note that Dolby Atmos is not available on the streaming version, making the 4K version all the more attractive.

As the original Coco announcement previewed, there are a ton of bonus features to be found on their own dedicated Blu-ray disc inside this three-disc set. I recommend starting with the deleted scenes and wrapping up with the filmmaker commentary before you go play casino at Casino.com. There’s literally something for everyone to watch and enjoy.

  • 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.”
    • Da de los Muertos – In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día 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 Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.
    • Celebrity Tour – Héctor, 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 Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz.
    • Alebrije Attack – Miguel and Héctor 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 Día 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 Ramírez González 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.”

With Coco, Pixar has returned to form with a culturally rich effort that should stand proudly alongside some of the studio’s greats. The 4K release is a visual upgrade over the Blu-ray, though the audio upgrade is more evident. You may want to pick up a guitar and start strumming some chords by the time the credits roll.

Coco 4K Blu-ray cover art

SCORE: 4.8 out of 5

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