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Coco: Why Hector's Murder Is One Of Pixar's Darkest Scenes

hector coco photo

The murder of Hector in Coco is the darkest scene in any of Pixar's movies. Pixar's first film was the original Toy Story, which also had the distinction of being the first fully computer animated movie. Off the back of the acclaim Toy Story received, Pixar would build a list of classic animated features with strong characters, including The Incredibles, Inside Out, Finding Nemo and many others.

Not every movie they've made has been showered with praises, with the Cars franchise generally receiving mixed reviews, but on the whole, Pixar produces strong work. This also includes the 2017 adventure Coco, which follows a young Mexican boy named Miguel who becomes trapped in the Land of the Dead and must find a way out before he disappears. The movie was co-directed by Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Adrian Molina with a voice cast that includes Benjamin Bratt, Gael Garcia Bernal, and Edward James Olmos.

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Coco received great reviews and in addition to grossing over $800 million worldwide, it would receive two Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song. A key element of Coco's story is how much Miguel idolizes a late musician named Ernesto de la Cruz, who he also believes is his great-great-grandfather. He seeks out Ernesto when he arrives in the Land of the Dead with the help of a skeleton named Hector.

hector coco ernesto

A big twist reveals Hector is actually the father of Coco, Miguel's great-grandmother and he was a musician in life. He was part of a musical duo with Ernesto and wrote the song "Remember Me" for his daughter Coco, but when he grew homesick of touring and wanted to return to his family, Ernesto became jealous. A flashback reveals Ernesto poisoned Miguel in order to steal his songs and took credit for them when he became famous, including "Remember Me." Meanwhile, Hector's family thought he ran away and he's gradually been forgotten by his descendants.

While Pixar has featured dark or mature sequences in their films before - from Ellie's death in Up to the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3 - actually featuring a scene where a man is murdered has to be the darkest. Hector's death scene in Coco isn't gratuitous or gory, but it's still a shock to see such a scene in an animated adventure. While this angered some parents Coco has a lot of interesting things to say on the subject of death and legacy, and while this sequence could be disturbing to younger viewers, it's handled with care.

Coco also showed how Pixar is always looking to evolve and push the boundaries of what's possible with their projects. Hector's death carries a lot of thematic and emotional resonance too, so while it's a dark sequence to include, it's vital to the story.

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