Presented by Co-Director Adrian Molina and Producer Darla K. Anderson, we saw quite a sizeable amount of footage!
Starting with the introduction sequence that runs for approximately five minutes and combines storyboards, layouts and frames which are all finished, the history behind Miguel’s family is thus revealed. The film will open with the bunting you see on all the posters, before then getting to the heart of the matter. And this was also an opportunity to spot the ubiquitous Pizza Planet truck!
Then we saw two more videos: one depicting Miguel in front of his television as he watches a video of his idol De La Cruz, then one of Miguel taking his guitar to the cemetery and ending up in the Land of the Dead. These are shots we have already seen in various trailers, but this time we get more time to enjoy the footage and reflect on what we see.
This was then followed by concept art featuring scenery of the Land of the Dead, its inhabitants and the creatures of Mexican folklore which compose it. These creatures are highly colourful, some are cute and some are threatening. When it came to depicting villages, Pixar drew inspiration from the Aztec civilization and other local architecture.
We were shown another video featuring Miguel as he met his ancestors. This was the opportunity for us to see what risks Miguel was taking by staying too long with them. We hope that the characters we saw will not just be secondary, for they seem to withhold great potential.
A string of concept art and storyboards ensued. One new scene, entirely storyboarded in fact, featured Miguel and Hector singing in front of a crowd. Whilst Hector is presented as the little boy’s “guide” in the Land of the Dead, we do not get much more of an introduction, other than through this scene and animation tests.
Finally, we were shown a video on what went on behind the scenes of the dubbing session, where Lee Unkrich, as a Christmas present, gave Anthony Gonzalez a picture telling him he had been chosen for the part.
As could be expected, this film is first and foremost musical. Of all the sequences we saw, music withheld great importance and obviously revealed Mexican inspirations.
All in all, Pixar hereby offers us a highly unusual world compared to all those they have come up with up to now. The feature seems very colourful, fun, but we did not get enough sneak peeks that would enable us to see whether a deeper side to the story is planned.