January 1, 2021
Disney Pixar’s new movie “Soul” was released on Disney+ Dec. 25. It was a highly anticipated movie after trailers had been circulating for over a year. Pixar and Disney have a long history of using racial stereotypes in their movies but there was hope that this movie with Pixar’s first black main character would break that reputation.
For the first ten minutes of the movie Joe Gardner (voiced by Jamie Fox) is alive. He’s a middle school band teacher who had just been offered a full-time position, but he dreams of being a famous jazz musician like on the posters on his classroom walls. When his former student Lamont “Curley” Baker (voiced by Questlove) calls to say there’s an opening to play with Dorothea Williams (voiced by Angela Bassett) in her quartet he can finally see his dreams becoming reality.
However, shortly after Joe “dies”. Technically he is just in a coma from falling through a manhole, but he is sent to the great beyond. He doesn’t make it to the great beyond because he refuses to accept that he died, so he breaks through the barrier and falls to the place where new souls grow and find a personality before beginning life on earth. There Joe meets 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), yes 22 is their name, who is a stubborn soul who despite all the mentors that have tried to help them over their very long journey have never succeeded in helping them find their spark to be able to go to Earth.
The overall plot of the movie is easy to follow, however, there are a couple of transitions that don’t make sense but it doesn’t completely take away from the storyline. There are a few pop culture and history references that help you understand the story and just add to the movie moving it more toward the comedy movie realm.
The plot does start to escalate slightly when Joe’s soul finds a way back to his body in the hospital, but as he jumps into the portal, 22 accidentally goes with him. They soon realize that 22’s soul is in Joe’s body and Joe’s soul has ended up in that therapy cat that was on the hospital bed. They are then on a mission to find out how to switch back and make it back to the jazz club in time for Joe’s big break performance.
“Soul” is a great new Pixar movie that many different demographics can enjoy. It has relatable and charismatic main characters that are great additions to the movie’s quality. It ends with a moving message about living life to the fullest and finding your life’s purpose or your ‘spark’.