In filmmaking, you’ll often hear the expression “kill your babies.” While that might sound like the beginning of an Oliver Stone movie, it actually refers to cutting extraneous pieces of the film, which the creators may love on their own, but which don’t stand in service to the heart of the story. Judging by the grandeur of this just-released deleted scene, Coco’s creators may have killed the mother of all babies.
Check out the scene in the USA Today tweet below, preceded by directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina explaining that it actually opened the film through many iterations and screenings, as a “little musical number to introduce to the world of Coco.”
If you’ve seen Coco, you know that’s no little world, but rather one that encompasses an exuberant array of sights and sounds, not just of Santa Cecilia, Mexico, but beyond this world into the magical Land of the Dead. So you can imagine it might just need a showstopping introduction, which is exactly what the film apparently used to have...
Think about how much work went into that! You’ve got the story work, the songwriting, the recording, the drawings, the animation, the coloring — and they all work splendidly together. And yet it’s all for not. The scene may be beautiful, and helpful in explaining Dia de los Muertos, but ultimately, it doesn’t include the hero of our story, Miguel, or his family. And that is the singing heart of the incredible story.
Presumably, that’s why they cut it, though the directors don’t go into detail about that in the clip. Regardless of the specifics though, you can bet it was a story decision, ultimately. Which is truly a testament to the commitment that Pixar makes to storytelling, first and foremost.
Sure, killing story babies is a common occurrence, which should begin all the way down at pitch and script level, but that doesn’t make it any easier for the creators to let go — especially a baby as fully formed as this one. But considering Coco just swept the Annies and should absolutely take home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, we’re pretty sure they made the right choice.
Coco comes out on Digital HD and Movies Anywhere on Feb. 13, and Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K on Feb. 27.