The second movie this year from Pixar (after Cars 3), Coco sees the creators of the Toy Story series make what is arguably their first fantasy movie, as twelve year old Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) finds himself embroiled in a long-standing family mystery surrounding a ban on music. Miguel’s quest to solve this mystery, and how it connects to his musical idol Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt), leads Miguel into the fabled Land of the Dead. The trailer makes it clear that music is integral to the story in Coco, and the TV footage of de la Cruz is reminiscent of the newsreel footage from Up (2009), but once again it’s the quality of the animation that captures the attention: the end reveal is breathtaking. Pixar appear to have weathered the initial controversy surrounding their decision to try and trademark the term “Día de los Muertos”, and in doing so, have created a Pixar movie first: Miguel is their first central character of ethnic origin. In a way this could be a movie to savour, as it’s the last original story idea we’ll see from Pixar until March 2020. But if the story is locked in, then this could be the kind of uplifting, emotionally resonant tale that Pixar does so well when it’s not concentrating too much on banging out lacklustre sequels to existing favourites.
Edgar Wright may be the only director to turn down a gig at Marvel (he walked away from Ant-Man (2015) citing creative differences), but the downside of that decision for movie fans was his distinctive directing style being absent from our screens for four loooong years. But now he’s back, and with baby-faced Ansel Elgort as, well, the Baby Driver of the title. An action/crime/thriller about a getaway driver (yes, Elgort) looking to “retire” after meeting the girl of his dreams (Lily Collins), but reeled in for one last job by über-crime lord Kevin Spacey, the movie is replete with Wright’s trademark visual stylings (no static angles allowed here), and offbeat sense of humour (the Halloween argument). Anyone familiar with the video for Mint Royale’s Blue Song will already know how Baby Driver begins, but those who don’t will be in for a treat nevertheless. The trailer features some very impressive stunt driving, a great supporting cast that includes the likes of Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm, and appropriately for a movie where the title character drives to the sounds of his own personal soundtrack, some really great tunes.
Aardman Studios are gloriously unique. They’re the only animation company who work with stop-motion clay animation techniques, and they regularly make crowd-pleasing movies that thrive on their own unique form of invention and wit. And if the teaser trailer for Early Man is anything to go by, then they’re onto another winner here as well. Even though we won’t see the finished product until January 2018, there’s already enough here to vouchsafe its tale of Dug (voiced by Eddie Redmayne) and his efforts to unite his tribe against rivals from the Bronze Age (yes, time travel is involved) in a confrontation that pre-dates European football by thousands and thousands of years. Dug is a classic Aardman creation, and will no doubt prove popular, but if one character is likely to stand out from all the rest, it has to be Dug’s trusty sidekick, Hognob the (early) pig. With this being Nick Park’s first solo venture as a director, and like Pixar’s Coco, Aardman’s last original story idea for some time to come, this is definitely one to look forward to (and hopefully treasure).