“Coco,” the 2017 Disney Pixar movie about a 12-year old Mexican boy who dreams of playing music like his ancestors, finally captured a culture different than American culture, without any stereotypes or prejudices. The directors spent time learning about Mexican traditions, specifically Día de los Muertos, the holiday on which the movie is based.
The movie industry is not making enough films to appeal to their melting pot audience but “Coco” is a step in the right direction. Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for lighthearted movies such as “Frozen” (2013), Toy Story 3” (2010) or even “Boss Baby” (2017), but if children were educated on cultural appropriation from an early age, our society, even from a political standpoint, would be very different.
With Netflix and Hulu in the picture, the movie industry is not bringing in as much money as it used to, but maybe, if they keep bringing to light the diverse communities that exist in the United States alone, audiences would show up to the theaters.
“Coco” opened at $71.2 million over Thanksgiving break compared to Frozen at $93.5 million.
If people won’t go to different countries to learn about cultures, the cultures should come to them.
I’m not Mexican, but I am Hispanic and I was a bit worried about this film because the director of the film, Lee Unkrich, has no connections to Mexico whatsoever. From the code-switching between Spanish and English to the perfect illustration of a Xolo, a typical breed of a Mexican dog, Unkrich mastered this celebration of Hispanic culture.
The film “Moana” (2016) received scrutiny because it portrayed some of its characters stereotypically. I was expecting “Coco” to have stereotypical characters also, but the directors knew what they were doing. It made me appreciate Mexican culture with a new perspective.
The problem is that there are not enough movies like this and producers are still making ignorant films and TV shows: “Modern Family,” an ABC sitcom, portrays Colombian women as loud and with heavy accents. Over-generalization is a form of racism.
The movie industry should stop creating movies that are insulting to other cultures and start creating more movies like “Coco” so our children will grow up with a cultured mindset.
Only then can we undo what the media has done to our perception of the world.