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21st Jan 2018

Coco has a scene that is sadder than the end of Toy Story 3 or the start of Up

Rory Cashin

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

For their 19th movie, Disney and Pixar have combined their powers over our emotions to create a scene that seems singularly designed to be one of the saddest moments in animated movie history.

That isn’t to say that the scene they created in Coco is particularly cynical, but if you do manage to make it through without shedding a few tears, then you are clearly some kind of pod-person.

The movie itself is a fantastic success – a vibrant celebration of colour, music, family, and a culture generally under-represented in this medium.

It is also great to see Pixar make a proper return to form after their last three movies – The Good Dinosaur, Finding Dory, Cars 3 – not nearly matching up to their best work.

Does Coco measure up to their best? Not exactly, no. It doesn’t have the intelligence of Inside Out, the experimentalism of Wall-E, the bombast of The Incredibles, or the pure lovable nature of Monsters, Inc., but it does show Pixar and Disney taking a step in right, creative direction again.

And that is wholly represented by the tear-duct workout that comes with Coco’s most powerfully emotional few minutes.

We’re not going to go into detail of the sequence here, because you should let it wash over you without warning, and trust us, once you see the movie, you’ll know exactly the part that we’re talking about.

Remember the opening of Up? Here it is again (mostly), in case you’ve forgotten:

Clip via xXJEashXx

It is a beautiful montage, fantastically presented, getting across the pure emotion of their relationship with as little effort as possible, while still getting back maximum emotional pay-off.

You’d almost be forgiven for thinking that the movie should’ve just been this short segment, before it headed off in what feels like an almost unrelated adventure involving dogs flying planes.

Then there was this one from Toy Story 3…

Clip via Chloe Challis

After three movies across 15 years, we see these best friends facing certain death and accepting their fate, holding hands and bracing for the end.

If you haven’t noticed, they both have death in common. Same goes for the majority of the really sad scenes in animated movies: Bambi’s mother, The Land Before Time’s baby dinosaur’s mother, Simba’s dad in valley, Bing Bong’s fading farewell, everything to do with Grave Of The Fireflies, we could go on and on.

Which is why, when this particular scene hits in Coco, it comes as such a surprise, as a movie entirely revolving around the concept of death and the after-life, the tears come flooding with a proper love-letter to living your life to the fullest.

And for that reason, it becomes Pixar’s first must-watch movie since Inside Out.

Coco is in cinemas.

Clip via Disney•Pixar