Soul is a 2020 American computer animated fantasy comedy drama film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and directed by Pete Docter and co-directed by Kemp Powers. The film stars the voices of Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Graham Norton, Rachel House, Alicia Braga, Richard Ayoade, Phylicia Rashad, Donnell Rawlings, Questlove and Angela Bassett. The movie follows the story of middle school music teacher named Joe Gardner, who tries to reconnect his soul and his body after they are accidentally separated, just before his start as a jazz musician.
This is definitely one of Disney’s darkest and deepest films. The main themes of this movie are death, afterlife, finding purpose and the meaning of life. These themes were executed well, though far from perfect. Too much time is spent in the “Great Beyond” and “Great Before” (AKA Heaven) with the soul creatures, a lot of mature themes, is quite slow much of the time and just really depressing until the end. I like the message of finding purpose, but the rest are heartbreaking and almost sacrilegious.
The animation is phenomenal, as well as the soundtrack that both Jamie Foxx and Trent Reznor composed. I found myself both bored, a bit offended and appalled at times and not really entertained by this film at all. Being a Disney and Pixar fan I was hoping to really like this movie like majority of critics and viewers, but I really didn’t. The story seemed push religion, philosophy and psychology, to the brink at times to offensiveness. With an all-star cast and production companies, you’d expect an outstanding motion picture, though like I said I didn’t care much this one.
I’m all for a black lead character, but this film seemed to do like so many films and do black against white, like when 22 (voiced by Tina Fey), an unborn white girl switches body with Joe (Jamie Foxx), it just feels really uncomfortable and a tad racist by some of the remarks made the two lead characters. There’s lots of adult humor, talk about death, souls and the meaning of life and finding your spark. Young children will not understand this movie at all. Just the fact Joe is killed within the first 10 minutes, is not the message you want to send to kids. Yes, kids do need to learn about death and all, but not like this.
You can do a film about death and the meaning of life, without it being so dark and not going quite so deep into these subjects. Even a family movie can use these themes and not confuse and/or frighten children. I’m sorry but Disney took this one too far. The best scenes to me aren’t in the “Great Beyond,” which the most of the movie’s setting, but when Joe’s playing music. I’m just dumbfounded that this story ever got green lit. Yes, Disney has a percentage of darkness in all it’s films, but it’s usually not for the majority of the movies’ runtime.
I wish the movie had focused more Joe’s own life rather than his adventures with 22. More about his childhood, education and things like that would’ve made it more fascinating. Overall, this film had me scratching my head as how this ever got made and why people love it so much. A movie that is pretty blasphemous and heavy-hitting and very sad. I guess you can call this Disney’s “Anti-Disney” film. Whether you believe in afterlife and heaven or not, it’s blatantly obvious what they were going for here. I’m all for pushing the boundaries and a little controversy, but don’t sell it for kids.
Overall, the animation is spectacular, so is the soundtrack, but I really didn’t enjoy this film much at all, it was lacking far too much and kept me scratching my head. While I normally cry at Disney movies, this one didn’t do that to me, like it did the others I watched it with. Conservative Christians may or may not like this movie. At the same time for older children, it will give grown-ups an opportunity to talk about God, Death, help them find their “spark.” Younger viewers will be bored and confused, as this movie is very complex in the themes and there are two different settings.
Do I hate this film? No. But do I like it? A little bit. Maybe Pixar’s next film will be more exciting and not offensive. Nice try guys, but you struck out on this one. 10+ 2.5/5