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5 heart-wrenching Pixar moments to prepare you for Coco


The 19th of January is set to be an emotional day because this is the day that Pixar’s latest film, Coco, is released.

Pixar have a reputation for crafting immensely emotional films, and if we’re going by early reviews from the US, they've delivered another absolute showstopper.

In a first for Pixar we're whisked into Mexican folklore, as aspiring child musician Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is accidentally transported to the land of the dead. Whilst there he seeks the help of his musician great-great-grandfather to return him to his family among the living.

As much as we adore Pixar our fragile human hearts can only withstand so many feels before we break down in tears. So, in an attempt to prepare us for another Pixar tear-jerker, here are five heart-wrenching moments to prepare us for Coco. Make sure to have some tissues on standby...

5. Goodbye, Boo – Monsters Inc. (2001)

Saying goodbye is never easy, but it has never been harder than when Sully (John Goodman) says farewell to his new friend Boo (Mary Gibbs).

After their adventures together in the Monsters Inc. factory, Sully knows they can't stay together for long; Boo deserves to be with her own family, after all. Even being equipped with the knowledge that Sully’s doing the right thing doesn’t make this goodbye any easier – for him or us.

Boo doesn’t seem to understand what’s happening; she’s eager to show Sully her toys (see if you can find Nemo) and the look on her face when she opens her door to find the world of monsters gone is the final blow that’s too much for us to bear. 

However, it’s then revealed that Mike (Billy Crystal) had been repairing Boo’s shredded door. Seeing Sully’s sheer joy as he steps into Boo’s room to hear her excited voice instantly turns our tears into tears of joy.

4. Remembering EVE – Wall-E (2008)

Pixar have focused their stories on a whole host of things – toys, bugs, animals, cars – but none are as affecting as the adorable robots WALL-E and EVE. We spend so much time getting to know these characters that we’re heartbroken when WALL-E’s memory is reset after EVE repairs him.

Everything we loved about this plucky scavenger is gone: he doesn’t recognise his favourite film Hello Dolly, he destroys his favourite things, and, worst of all, he doesn’t remember EVE. Seeing WALL-E’s vacant expression as EVE desperately tries to get through to him makes us feel like we’ve lost a friend.

Taking his hand and placing her head against his, tears stream down our cheeks as we say goodbye to WALL-E with EVE. But when WALL-E doesn’t release her hand and we see his eyes twitch back to life as a spark jogs his memory, we’re elated to have our friend back.

Witnessing WALL-E and EVE’s union to the soundtrack of 'It Only Takes a Moment' is one of Pixar’s finest moments to date. We’re still wiping away the tears.

3. The incinerator – Toy Story 3 (2010)

Whereas Jessie’s (Joan Cusack) tragic backstory in Toy Story 2 made us wish we still had our old toys, Toy Story 3’s notorious incinerator scene made us regret throwing any of them away.

To escape from a totalitarian nursery Woody (Tom Hanks) and company must make their way to the dumpster to catch a ride outside the playground walls. But when they’re betrayed once again by the malicious Lotso (Ned Beatty), our gang of heroes find themselves trapped on a conveyor belt to an incinerator.

Complete with hellish imagery it really looks like the friends many grew up with are about to meet an untimely end. The sense of hopelessness is only made worse as the gang join hands as they accept their seemingly inevitable fate.

Thankfully this wasn’t the end, but is Toy Story 3’s actual ending (we're talking the whole goodbye Andy sequence) any less heart-shattering?

2. Forgetting Bing Bong – Inside Out (2015)

Pixar's beautifully imaginative adventure takes place in the head of young Riley (Kaitlyn Dias), as emotions Joy (Amy Poehler) and Sadness (Phyliss Smith) journey through her mind to return to headquarters and restore her emotional wellbeing.

On their adventure the pair encounter Riley’s old imaginary friend Bing Bong (Richard Kind) who helps guide them home. However, after Joy and Bing Bong fall into the memory dump, we’re unable to hold back our tears when Bing Bong sacrifices himself so Joy can escape.

As Bing Bong fades away, signifiying that he's been forgotten by Riley, we can’t help but think about the joyous parts of our own lives we’ve forgotten over the years.

It's a powerfully moving reminder that growing up means letting go of parts of our childhood. Yet the movie also joyously reminds us that getting older doesn’t mean we should forget it completely.

1. Carl and Ellie – Up (2009)

You knew this was coming.

The opening to an otherwise uplifting Pixar classic is one of the most heart-wrenchingly emotional sequences in cinema. Told without dialogue, the opening of UP accounts for the entire relationship of childhood sweethearts Ellie and Carl (Edward Asner).

Accompanied by Michael Giacchino’s incredible Oscar-winning score, Up’s opening is enchanting from the offset as we see the newlyweds move into their home. Life couldn’t be better for the pair at first, but, despite their resilience, life gets in their way before they get a chance to fulfil a childhood dream of venturing to Paradise Falls.

With the added irony of Ellie falling ill just as Carl finally gets them tickets, Up echoes the harsh reality that dreams don’t always come true as we see the harrowing image of Carl alone at Ellie’s funeral. Accomplishing all of this using only visual storytelling and music is a testament to Pixar’s genius.

After putting ourselves through these five heartwrenching Pixar moments, we feel we’re ready to tackle whatever Pixar has to throw at us when Coco lands in Cineworld on 19th January – but we’re probably going to take some spare tissues with us just in case too. Check out for the trailer for yourselves.

Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.