Thank you Disney for giving me the opportunity to watch and review the film SOUL. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
SOUL is Pixar’s latest offering that features a mostly Black cast and will debut on Disney+. It seeks to remind people that life is worth living and to find the “spark” basically, the things in life that give you purpose and drive your passions. Here is my movie review of Pixar’s SOUL.
The movie opens with Joe Gardner (Jaime Foxx) a band teacher who dreams of making it big in the Jazz world. Joe spends his time teaching beginning band but at night he is a great jazz pianist who just needs one big break. That opportunity comes when he auditions for Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) a jazz legend looking for a pianist. He gets the gig but before he can fully embrace his dream he falls into a manhole and he is sent to the Great Beyond while in a coma on Earth.
As he heads toward the Great Beyond, Joe is stressed out at his missed opportunity and tries to get back to Earth. Instead he lands in the Great Before, a cotton candy pink and blue world which is home to these round little rolly polly people (newborn souls) who are trying to find their spark before heading back to Earth. One in particular, 22 (voiced by Tina Fey) needs a new mentor and Joe jumps at the chance thinking it may get him back to Earth.
The animation of SOUL is gorgeous and frankly I could have just watched an entire movie with Joe Gardner living his life chaotically in NYC. The details are sublime, especially the scenes in Joe’s neighborhood and the aerials of the City/Central Park. A favorite scene for me was the pizza scene and the scene in the barber shop which is perfectly captures the familiar setting of a community who comes together not only to get their hair cut but also to get the latest tea from each other. The movie is complimented by a fun soundtrack which consists of some great jazz tunes. The soundtrack also includes the songs “Rappin Ced” performed by Daveed Diggs, “Parting Ways” performed by Cody Chesnutt, andBatiste’s cover of the Curtis Mayfield classic “It’s All Right.”
SOUL reminds watchers to find their spark- or the thing that gives them purpose. It’s also about practicing gratitude and I loved the ending that showed Joe doing exactly that. This isn’t really a spoiler since the entire movie revolves around finding your passion and then feeding that passion. In some ways SOUL parallels our lives right now, at least those of us in lock down. When it’s all over I fully intend to live life to the fullest, the way that SOUL wants its viewers to do.
“Soul” is directed by Academy Award® winner Pete Docter (“Inside Out,” “Up”), co-directed by Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and produced by Academy Award nominee Dana Murray, p.g.a. (Pixar short “Lou”). Disney and Pixar’s “Soul” will be available exclusively on Disney+ (where Disney+ is available) beginning Dec. 25, 2020.
Download some fun SOUL activity sheets below!
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