‘Soul‘ is brought us to by the 3-D animation group Pixar. Directed by Pete Docter, the CGI feature had its premiere at the London Film Festival before being released widely through the Disney Plus streaming service.
Joe Gardner (Jamie Foxx) is a middle school teacher who dreams of becoming a Jazz musician, much to his mother, Libba’s (Phylicia Rashad) chagrin. However, he finally gets his chance when an old student named Curley (Questlove) gets him an audition with singer Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett). On his way home, he falls into an open manhole and awakens on his way to The Great Beyond. He manages to get away and arrives at the Great Before where he is mistaken for a “mentor” to help unborn souls. He is tasked with helping 22 (Tina Fey), who does not want to go to Earth. After meeting Moonwind (Graham Norton), a guru who is helping lost souls return to their bodies. With only hours left, Joe has to find a way to get back to his body before it’s too late.
I would like to say, the voice casting is excellent. Everyone performs their role to perfection and has such great chemistry when their characters interact. Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey, especially, deliver on every level possible, making it feel purposeful. Phylicia Rashad has a smaller role in this film, but her impact is there.
Likewise, the music deserves a chef’s kiss. Score composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross brought us a masterful soundtrack that truly brings the music home and that goes for the MANY musical artists that helped with the album. I will admit to not being a Jazz aficionado, but I can honestly say that it brought the movie to a whole new level.
The story, for me, had a lot of meaning. Through Joe and 22’s eyes, the movie challenges two ideas. The first is that life is meaningless. Every person has a place and that viewpoint was present well. The second is determinism, the idea that there is no free will and we are drones just doodling along. This movie shows that we can have a will and live life to the fullest. The movie presented these two ideas in a charming and simple way that is sure to catch anyone’s attention.
I do wonder how it is as a kid’s film. There is a lot of good music, hilarious moments, top-notch animation, and finely tuned comedy action that a child can enjoy, but I honestly feel that this was Pete Docter’s way of reaching out to adults through content for their children. He co-wrote the screenplay with Mike Jones and Kemp Powers, so I have no doubt that was a part of it. No, I am in no way saying it fails as a kid’s flick, but I do think some of the deeper themes might go over their head.
Bottom line, Soul is a finely crafted film that demonstrates why Pixar is at the top of the game when it comes to CGI animation. It is fun, humorous, and has an important message of finding a purpose in life.
PARENTAL CONCERNS: Cartoonish violence
FAVORITE QUOTE: Music is all I think about. From the moment I wake up in the morning… to the moment I fall asleep at night. I was born to play. It’s my reason for living.
Check out the trailer below:
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my movie reviews of Over The Moon and Pets United. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.