Thanks for posting this, Pan, as well as your comments about "Elena of Avalor" and the episode on the Day of the Dead. I'm very interested in how the Days of the Dead can be presented to children in other cultures in story and visuals. I saw "Book of Life" and have a bunch of picture books based on the Day of the Dead--fictional books, not nonfiction photo essays. On the one hand, I totally agree with you on the significance of finding ways to remember the dead and integrate that memory into daily life. On the other hand, North Americans without Latin American heritage find the cultural forms used in the Mexican Day of the Dead can be a bit off-putting: e.g. dressing up a skeleton as a beloved dead person. We keep the silly/scary death imagery of our Halloween pretty strictly separate from the ways we memorialize our beloved dead. So fascinating to see how differently the symbolism of death works south of the border! So, I'm looking forward to "Coco" and encouraged by your positive "work in progress" review.
The fine animated movie "Kubo and the Two Strings" also had a great scene involving another culture's ritual way of remembering the dead. I find it interesting that at least some American viewers are drawn to such imagery, realizing our own culture's poverty in symbolic connection with the dead. Most Americans don't have much of a symbolic/ritual repertoire for remembering anyone who died more than a year ago. Possibly many contemporary Europeans are in the same boat: the author of one of the picture books I have (Birte Müller, Felipa and the Day of the Dead) says in an author's note, "In my native Germany we don't have anything like this, and I wanted to do a children's book that would introduce European children to this tradition." That book is based on a Todos Santos celebration in a small village in the Andes. The other picture books I have are all based on the practice in Mexico.
The plot looks great, seems very interesting. But I'm a bit disappointed to the theme. Seems that this story is about pursuing your dream and "find yourself", again. It sounds too much like princess series. The stories of Ariel, Mulan, Elsa and Moana are virtually the same. I always thought Pixar can be more creative than Disney. Well, I hope I am not mistaken.