So I was blown away by this film. Absolutely terrific What they can do now with animation is unbelievable: skin texture, freckles, wet clothes, arm flab, fur, and see-through skin!? I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll have to watch it again to really take it all in.
So if there’s anyone who hasn’t seen the film yet PLEASE GO SEE IT before looking at my choices for the Storyform and my half-beat analysis. Go see it! If you have kids, a wife, a friend who has a wife, go take them. Bring the whole family, especially your grandma! Omg, really bring your grandparents. This is a family film like no other Pixar has captured before. They really pushed themselves here in terms of Drama. I mean, the film feels closer to a Drama, then your typical laugh-out-loud Pixar Comedy; from the likes of Monster’s Inc and Finding Nemo (my personal favorites).
Okay here goes:
Now originally I thought Miguel was a changed character as I’ll state below but, actually; his goal for playing music is accepted in the end would make him steadfast, thus having changed those around him to finally accept music into the family. This is further expressed when he meets the artist (Frida Kahlo) whereby upon asking him what he thinks of her art, she adopts his suggestions to make her piece better. I would think that the problem of him forsaking his immediate family isn’t so much a mind-set since he is actually searching for a family (member) to accept him; but as a means of challenging those around him in the process.
Resolve: Steadfast (Although Miguel forsakes his family by following his dream to become a world-famous musician; he holds true to his passion for music till the end, changing the world around him, as seen by his family’s acceptance of music into their lives; opening up truth of his real great grandfather Hector’s past, changing the town’s history and appreciation for family and music (together).
Growth: Start (Hole in his heart, holding out Steadfast until something begins in his environment, he is waiting for something to Start, his family’s acceptance of music)
Approach: Do-er (Miguel changes his environment to suite his needs; runs around asking for a guitar, he hides the dog under the table, he breaks into the mausoleum and steals the guitar, and chases after the dog constantly; he performs music to win a contest along with playing to get the attention of his Ernesto)
PS-Style: Female (surprising, I know…)
I’m a male myself, so forgive me if the words I use here aren’t the right vocabulary for why I think Miguel solves problems holistically more so than linearly, I’m working this out myself. Because after thinking about it… there were some decisions the film made that I didn’t agree with, specifically how Miguel always seemed to be chasing after the dog in the introduction into the second act. At first I thought it was a cheap way to move the story along and get the character where he needed to be, but his problem-solving style to keep things together and seeking fulfillment, rather than seeking satisfaction works nicely with remaining with the dog.
To further demonstrate by example:just like in Jane Eyre how she can seemingly find herself across the country being a Do-er/Holistic in the beginning of that film as explained in Dramatica’s analysis, we find Miguel without a guitar seeing the statue and he connects that with the guitar in the mausoleum which was totally not what I was thinking, so he goes there; to a place we only saw in the beginning (without knowing the guitar was in there if my memory serves correct). And further, after bailing from the contest in the spirit realm, he solves that problem being without a ticket to ask for the band who won to sneak him on. Linearly he could have kept approaching his fake grandfather in the party scene but he chose to play the music. Music may be a big part of being holistic I think. Not to mention the ending where he decides to play for Coco (albeit I saw that coming) is totally holistic in nature, he did it more based on feeling and seeing the whole; not necessary as a way to make her remember; again probably not the best vocabulary to describe this argument but having him as a male p/s doesn’t feel right to me.
OS Plot Dynamics
Driver: Decision (In beginning, it’s decided that music is bad, his family decides not to support him which only makes him act out, they decide to make him a shoe-maker, which he rebels, and he decides to break into the mausoleum and steal the guitar only to then be warped into the spirit realm. His family has to decide to give him the blessing, it cannot be a forced action).
Limit: Optionlock (only so many people to get the blessing from, before running out of choices; although there are time devices such as his body slowly changing to skeletal body and not seeing Coco again, but these are just the stakes)
Outcome: Good (he finds who his father is, gets his family’s blessing and returns home safe with the memory of his true grandfather restored)
Judgement: Good (everyone is happy, alive and well, and Miguel’s passion for music is accepted into the family)
OS: Mind (Fixed Attitude) - stuck, music is bad, there’s no music in this family.
MC: Physics (Activity) - plays guitar, seeks his grandfather’s blessing to continue this process.
IC: Psychology (Manner of Thinking) - Could be his assumed manner of thinking by his family that music was more important than family, but it couldn’t be the opposite, Hector needs to fix this inequity by reconnecting with his wife and child (which he does at the end; when the truth is told that Hector is the amazing song-writer).
RS: Universe (Situation) - They are stuck in the spirit world together as they both agree to help each-other from a problematic situation.
Why I chose what I did:
At first I thought Influence Character Hector was in a problematic situation, I mean; the guy is LITERALLY stuck in this afterlife seeking to get out. But that would put Miguel into Mind which seemed right at first, having forsaken his family over music, but after concluding that the overall characters change from their ATTITUDE of music is bad to music is good, I realized that Miguel could better be suited as a steadfast, drawing his through line as a problematic Activity; which is totally true. All his problems stem from his passion to play the guitar. He could think about it all he likes, it’s the activity itself, of merely holding a guitar that gets him into trouble and causes his grandmother to react irrationally by breaking it (as reinforced by Signpost 1’s Impulsive Responses). His own reluctance to return home without being able to play causes further problems to arise when he actively ventures throughout the spirit realm, causing his deceased family to chase after him. His problems stem from his activities; causing problems for everyone else.
Which puts IC Hector into Psychology (manner of thinking). Which is pretty clear. Family is important and he’ll stop at nothing to get back to his daughter Coco before she forgets him, but if he is to change (since MC is steadfast as I proposed) then Hector would need to change his way of thinking. Since Activity and Psychology are both a process; if Miguel stopped doing what he’s doing there would be no more problems, and if Hector didn’t care and stopped thinking about his daughter, there wouldn’t be a problem for him either. I think he does change his process of thinking when he FINALLY apologies to his deceased wife (whom he hasn’t spoken to) and this comes closely at the end when they are singing together. He was reluctant to sing his songs, as he made them only for his family; when he is taken on stage with Miguel, he tap dances and sings (slightly; opening up to his inner truth)… it only concludes at the end where he’s reunited with his family (if anyone has a better way of explaining this by all means; I know I’m not explaining this right).
Concerns & Benchmarks:
MC CONCERN: Doing (wants to play the guitar)
MC BENCHMARK: Understanding (measures his concern of doing; growing his resolve of the important of music in the family – as expressed at the end by saving Coco with a song; we understand it’s importance, and so does the family).
IC CONCERN: Being (wants to be remembered, wants to be with his daughter Coco)
IC BENCHMARK: Conceptualizing (planning his escape measures his degree of being with his daughter)
RS CONCERN: Progress (how far they have come to reach their agreed goal of escaping and reuniting with family)
RS BENCHMARK: The Past (learning about the past measures their GROWTH as Great-great-grandfather/grandson)
OS CONCERN: The Preconscious (immediate response to get Miguel home; he is not one of the dead)
OS BENCHMARK: Memory (measures the impulsive responses through Ernesto throwing Miguel into the hole; the deceased mother singling impulsively on stage, and memory of Hector/Ernesto relationship as the singer/song-writer in the memories of everyone involved to be not true)
Anyways, that’s all I can post for now, I had a lot of fun doing this and giving it a try. What do you guys think? Did I nail it? or Am I way Off?! What do you feel about my analysis? Do you have any suggestions? Did I miss something? Do you feel something should be changed? Do you have a better way of telling everyone why my choices fit? lol. Please let me know in the comments. Thanks!
(and I would totally like to keep thinking of examples of why Dramatica chose what it did in RED, but I wanted to post this first to see what you guys think; because I honestly feel I hit pretty close to home here with one or two minor exceptions (maybe!)
Doing (playing the guitar, concert, running away, breaking in),
Learning (about spirit realm, playing the guitar and where Ernesto is)
Obtaining (blessing from Ernesto)
Understanding (who his father is, importance of family)