Pixar's Coco: Storyform Analysis

I’m gonna go with:

MC> Interdiction. He is trying to head off a life of cobblery.
IC> Suspicion. Everyone thinks he ran off, but they didn’t have all the evidence. They were jumping to Conclusions.


I like jumping to Conclusions.

So you’re saying Main Character Concern of Past and Influence Character Concern of Memory, right?

I’m finding that I’m having trouble separating all of the different throughlines because SO MUCH of it is about the music – of the songwriting; the family being against it; the world of the dead musical numbers; etc. I’m struggling to identify the storytelling there, particularly for the OS.

But just looking at those other throughlines, I think @MWollaeger is right. Particularly for the MC and IC, the thematics underneath feel really strong. The IC’s concern of ‘Memory’ especially feels right. And it fits in with the fact that he wrote the song that has such an influence on so many people – which is also literally called “Remember Me”.

I’d go upper left, too.

How is Hector impacting and challenging everyone around him through Memory?

What about the Past is a personal struggle for Miguel?

So, this is where I was torn: my gut feeling upon leaving the movie was that it was an Obtaining goal with the benchmark in Understanding. Mostly because the Consequence of fading away (or becoming nothing) felt very strong to me. At the time, I thought the goal was reuniting Miguel with his family. Now, I’m not so sure on what that goal would be. Possibly getting his great great grandfather on the ofrenda? Although, that wasn’t really established…

Anyway, let me try and back up my claims. For the IC in memory: the big one is that his music, and the memory it brings, is the only thing that really affects Coco; that song especially seems to have a huge influence on people, such as the dying guy that requests it.

Trying to think of examples for Miguel in The Past has stumped me, though. It’s possible that the thematics might just be very well-explored in their signposts (as opposed to being concerns), or I’ve just forgotten many of the details of the film. I’m gonna have to think about it, maybe revisit my gut feeling of Obtaining/etc. and report back tomorrow unless you guys make some progress.

Isn’t everyone basically at a standstill with this? They’ve balanced it out. How are the moments in the narrative sny differentvthsn they were before Miguel started to go against the grain?

For Obtaining, how do you see Miguel’s problems with Future?

Sorry I jumped ahead!

If we put the OS in Obtaining, then Miguel’s concern of The Future has to do with what he is going to do for the rest of his life. He wants to play music, not be a cobbler.

If we have Miguel in The Past then I see it this way: Miguel wants to play music, but cannot because of how music was poisoned in the past.

Hector is desperate to be remembered. When we meet him, he is trying to come over the bridge, and if he fails to be remembered by anyone then he will vanish. But I can see that both ways (both Desires and Memory.) My gut was that everything he was doing was motivated by being remembered.

Is this where the Authors see his problem, or where we measure the extent of his problem?

Hey Jim—

After reading the coco article on limit, I never really got confused about the time limit and saw Miguel’s transformation into a halo of bone just like the beauty and beasts rose petals. I saw it as the authors intent to provide higher stakes and consequences to the story. Answering the question: what happens if he doesn’t get back? And then stamping on a time like midnight (even if I’m not sure if we ever see a clock? I can’t recall) but I do remember the sundown toward the end. It was a physical way to show how much time is running out granted but couldn’t it be the same as the petals? As a space lock where the number of options are dwindling during this place in time? Anyways. Just wanted to stay it never really confused me about the story limit and I really enjoyed the fact that he was turning into a skeleton and giving me a timeframe of how fast this transformation would take. What did you guys think?

The rose petals of Beauty and the Beast were indicators of the Story Limit of Optionlock. The “timelock” on Miguel was not part of the Story Limit. It’s fine, but it creates a double ending (similar to Ratatouille and Speed).

When it comes to the Main Character Concern of a storyform, it’s not what “concerns” the Main Character that is in question, but rather where the source of inequity is from a personal perspective from the Author’s point-of-view.

What are they saying about Miguel and Past that is problematic?

And I understand that Hector is “concerned” with his daughter’s memory leaving - but is that really where he is introducing conflict into the narrative? I can see the Authors using Memory as a Benchmark for his Concern, but I don’t see him actually impacting or influencing through problematic memories.

A single instance of a memory is not a Concern - it could be a Signpost - but it’s not a concern that lasts throughout an entire narrative.

If Miguel’s Concern is the Future (and a Benchmark of the Past), then that would make Héctor’s Concern Subconscious (and he would have a Benchmark of Memory).

Héctor tries to cross the bridge by attempting to trick and then rushing past security because he wants to see his daughter. He joins with Miguel after they make a deal to put his picture back on the ofrena, which would allow him to see his daughter again. His fear of not seeing Coco “one last time” before his “Final Death,” drives him, among other things, to lie to Miguel:

Miguel: “Hey, you said you had front-row tickets!”

Héctor: “That. . . was a lie.”

What do these illustrations have in common? Subconscious.

I know! As I was writing that up, I thought this seems awfully benchmarky.

That was my experience trying to come up with examples of Miguel in The Past. It all felt very benchmark.

His future’s already picked out for him. He wants a future as this big musician like his idol, but instead, he’s told that he’s going to spend his life making shoes. That seems to be motivating everything he does – the running away; stealing the guitar (that might be OS).

Sorry to back up the conversation, but I just saw the movie. I don’t remember a single time being mentioned as it relates to a Storylimit. There’s nothing mentioned about “we have X amount of time” or “we have until X time” or whatever. What timelock were you seeing?
The possible limits I saw were a limited number of family members to get a blessing from, possibly before he completely became a skeleton, and before sunrise, which are all spacelocks.

Ugh, you know you’re right. For some reason I remember it being set to midnight for some reason. But it was sunset. Still feel like sunrise was treated as the final Optionlock when it wasn’t. Thanks for the clarification!

(opens up editor to edit article)

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How is Hector impacting and challenging everyone around him through Memory?

What about the Past is a personal struggle for Miguel?

I kinda posted my opinion on the subject at the beginning of the topic, but here’s a bit more : Hector wants to be remembered by his family and being forgotten would be the end for him. Not only is it his greatest concern throughout the story, but it creates all kind of havoc around him : bitter memories from his ex-wife is what drove the family away from music, directly impacting Miguel and his passion as a result ; him manifesting his presence once again creates tensions with his family members ; De La Cruz wants to prevent him from being remembered as the composer of the songs (by killing him and then trapping him in the land of the dead) and threatens to get at him and Miguel if that were to happen… “Contrasts with Miguel who clearly stated at the beginning that he didn’t care about being remembered and would rather realize his dream than being part of a family like his. Hector’s the most fit to influence him.” (but this one applies in the context of a Changed MC, as it feels more like Miguel adopted Hector’s view of how important it was to be remembered and how “Family comes first” without him giving up music, it’s more like he shifted his priorities)

As for Miguel, his family’s history with music hinders his growth as a musician. He is forced to become a shoemaker and to hide his passion ; at the same time, his fascination for historical icon of music Ernesto de la Cruz, as well as his great-great-grand father that everyone seems to erase from family’s history, prove to be a touchy topics for everyone in his family, making it a constant struggle for him. I believe issues of Interdiction, Prediction, Fate and Destiny resonate strongly with Miguel, just like Truth, Falsehood, Evidence and Suspicion work for Hector.

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Awesome. Thought I must’ve missed something.

If okay, I want to clarify one more thing already discussed. @MWollaeger mentioned that he agreed with the placement of the perspectives but not the reasoning. I would say Miguel’s Universe is about being part of the only family in Mexico that hates music. This is a problem because he loves music, but every time he tries to play music his abuelita (sp?) is there to stop him and tries to convince him how bad it is. Hectors Mind problem seems to be about what others think of him, mainly that they think he left his family. This is a problem because, thinking he left them, his family no longer puts his picture on the ofrenda (sp again?). Does that soundly roughly accurate?

It sounds awesome.

But it doesn’t sound like Memory and Past.

Agreed, was going for the Domain level. Not sure I see the Concern level as Past and Memory, so waiting to see how that plays out.

Is it the family history that is creating problems for Miguel? Or is it the justifications created by the family history that challenge him?

The first would be Past as a Concern. The second would be Past as Backstory.