Got Soul? A look at Pixar’s newest film


Photo by Shylee Saladi

Students watch the newest Pixar movie on the Disney+ streaming platform.

Shylee Saladi, Managing Editor of Production

Have you ever thought to yourself, why do I like swimming or why am I interested in science? Have you ever wondered where your passions come from? Released in 2020, Pixar’s Soul is an emotion-packed, heart-wrenching view of New York City that caught the eyes of many young adults and even an older audience as well. Through the eyes of a true jazz-playing New Yorker, Joe Gardner experiences it all. Soul tells the story of high school teacher turned jazz pianist, Joe Gardner, who has a near-death experience that gets him stuck in the after-life, leaving him in contemplation of the choices he has made and the things he took for granted. 

The first black male lead in a Pixar movie, Joe Gardner, played by Jamie Foxx, learns later in life, even if someone turns out to be a high school music teacher, there is something more in life for that person, such as being a mentor. Gardner learns about what life truly is once he loses the ability to be in his own body, as if he died and went to the afterlife. His mentee, named 22, helps him realize how amazing life is and all of the firsts that occur while on Earth, like eating your first piece of food and meeting new people. The purpose of the afterlife is to teach each unborn child how to find their spark that allows them to live on earth. Gardner learns about the importance of family, following his dreams, and life overall.

Soul is a cinematic adventure that no viewer thought possible. Pixar’s exquisite CGI animation is absolutely flawless and is what puts this movie on a different level than most of the newer Disney movies. Despite the beautifully animated afterlife and “beforelife”, the real prize is right on Earth in New York City. The level of creativity needed to come up with all the twists and turns of Soul is hard to come by but this movie has it all. Despite the fact that the audience cannot actually see the actors and actresses in this film, their voices portray the characters well. Each character in this movie has their own unique backstory and when all put together connect seamlessly.

Though this movie is an incredible watch, the length is somewhat worrisome, especially for younger viewers. Many times it felt like the movie was at a good place to end but it kept going. The many storylines within the movie made it confusing at times, especially moving between the afterlife and earth. Many scenes in the movie aren’t quite as funny as the actors are supposed to make it seem. As many Disney movies are geared towards children the concept of adding jazz to Soul entrances adults but puts children to sleep. The thought to add jazz to a Disney movie is one for the books but it is also something that doesn’t necessarily pull children in. Overall, Soul is a very good movie with many layers to peel back every time it’s watched.

Many people may think that Disney movies are only for children, movies like Soul encourage children and adults alike to watch them. This movie is tagged with being a family comedy and it shows in many ways. Soul incorporates many hard themes to talk about but all the while includes a beautifully written jazz score. This film has so many different layers to the story that no matter how many times you watch it, you will get something different out of it each time. Through all of the storylines, adventures, and comedy, Soul reaches out to so many people in order to watch it altogether.