Coco is he front-runner for this year's Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It also has 97% on Rotten Tomatoes and 8.6 on IMDb. To me it felt very traditional and cliche kind of film Disney typically makes. Can anyone explain how it is so good, leaving the cultural accuracy aside ?
This is going to be opinion-based, but I can give you The Coco Wikipedia's Page's inclusion of "critical responses".
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 97%, based on 267 reviews, with an average rating of 8.2/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Coco's rich visual pleasures are matched by a thoughtful narrative that takes a family-friendly—and deeply affecting—approach to questions of culture, family, life, and death." It was the site's highest-rated animated film and ninth highest-rated wide release of 2017. On Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating to reviews, the film has a weighted average score of 81 out of 100, based on 48 critics, indicating "universal acclaim." Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A+" on an A+ to F scale, one of fewer than 80 films in the history of the service to receive such a score; it was also the sixth Pixar film to earn the rating, and the first since Up in 2009. It also earned a 95% positive score, including a rare five-out-of-five stars, from comScore, along with a 76% "definite recommend".
Michael Rechtshaffen of The Hollywood Reporter said, "At every imaginative juncture, the filmmakers (the screenplay is credited to Pixar veteran Molina and Matthew Aldrich) create a richly woven tapestry of comprehensively researched storytelling, fully dimensional characters, clever touches both tender and amusingly macabre, and vivid, beautifully textured visuals." Robert Abele of TheWrap praised the film, saying: "If an animated movie is going to offer children a way to process death, it's hard to envision a more spirited, touching and breezily entertaining example than Coco." In his review for Variety, Peter Debruge wrote, "In any case, it works: Coco's creators clearly had the perfect ending in mind before they'd nailed down all the other details, and though the movie drags in places, and features a few too many childish gags... the story's sincere emotional resolution earns the sobs it's sure to inspire." Debruge also described the film as "[An] effective yet hardly exceptional addition to the Pixar oeuvre." Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave the film four out of four stars, writing that "There's a touch of Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki in the film's matter-of-fact depiction of the dead interacting with the living, as well as its portrayal of certain creatures" such as Dante and Pepita. He concluded his review by stating, "I had some minor quibbles about [Coco] while I was watching it, but I can't remember what they were. This film is a classic."
Peter Travers of Rolling Stone rated the film 3.5 stars out of four, calling it a "loving tribute to Mexican culture", while praising the animation, vocal performances (particularly Gonzalez, Bernal, and Bratt), and its emotional and thematic tone and depth. The Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips called the film "vividly good, beautifully animated", praising Giacchino's musical score and the songs, as well drawing a comparison to the emotional tone of Inside Out. A. O. Scott of The New York Times praised the film as "a time-tested tune with captivating originality and flair, and with roving, playful pop-culture erudition", and called the film's cultural vibe "inclusive" and "a 21st-century Disney hallmark". Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times found the film to be "full of life" and deemed it "a bouncy and heart-tugging adventure", while lauding the vocal performances as "fantastic" and "first-rate". Brian Truitt of USA Today described the film as "effervescent, clever and thoughtful," calling it one of "Pixar's most gorgeously animated outings", and "the most musical Pixar film, with a host of catchy tunes". Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger wrote that the backgrounds "have a vibrancy, and its atmosphere carries a warmth. And even after it's done, both linger, just a bit—like a perfectly struck guitar chord".
Although not all critics are smitten with it, it seems that the majority that are, tend to cite the combination of vibrant visuals, emotional story-telling/narrative, a nice score, and, of course, a portrayal of culture often not represented by a well-known & often praised animation company.