Newest Disney Pixar’ film “Soul” reminds people what living is all about


In a desperate attempt to return to his mortal body, Joe Gardener must go on a journey of self discovery to play the biggest Jazz gig of his career.

What is your spark? What makes you feel like you have a purpose on this earth? What does your soul need to keep going?
For Joe Gardener, it’s jazz music. To him, jazz isn’t just playing music, it keeps him going and gives his life purpose. Joe has spent most of his life trying to perfect his craft of jazz piano, so he could one day do it for a living. For now, he’s happily stuck as a middle school band teacher in the heart of New York City waiting for something to happen. Until one day, it happened.
Disney Pixar’s “Soul,” released on Christmas Day 2020 on Disney+, is an uplifting story that reminds people what living is supposed to feel like and what society misses when people disregard the beauty in life. Pixar Animation Studios has once again used its incredible animation to illustrate where souls come from and where they go after life on earth.
As a middle school band teacher, Joe Gardener, voiced by Jamie Foxx, never felt like he ever got his big break. When an old friend of his calls one afternoon, that all changes. After his untimely accident, he feels he needs to go back to Earth, where his body exists in a coma, and play the gig he was destined to play. As he tries to escape, he meets another soul named 22 (Tina Fey), who never wanted to live because of how awful life was on earth. When trying to go back to earth, 22 ends up in Joe’s body and they both must find out how to reverse what has happened to them.
Although the movie is amusing to younger audiences, older audiences will enjoy the film’s deeper messages about finding a purpose and appreciating the smaller things in life that make it so much more than what people sometimes think it is. “Soul” also shows us not to live life through others experiences, but to live life the way you were meant to because if you are someone else, who is going to be you?
The movie’s soundtrack, which is deeply rooted in modern jazz, is stunning and helps the story move along. Though jazz is a prevalent theme in the film, viewers don’t need to be infatuated with jazz to enjoy the story. The movie explains how people fall in love with different hobbies, livelihoods and jobs, so jazz is simply the example that Pixar has chosen for the protagonist and is not the central plot focus that drives the story.
The groundbreaking film also features the very first African American protagonist in a Pixar film. According to Entertainment Weekly, “The studio established the Pixar Cultural Trust, a group of largely Black employees inside Pixar… The goal with the Cultural Trust was to ensure the representation would be as genuine as possible.” It was the employees in this trust that helped take notes on the story to make it more authentic, and to critique the animators to “properly render Black skin tones.”
The movie is extremely diverse inside and out of the film’s production, and incorporates many races and ethnicities on screen from the main characters to the pedestrians that cross the New York streets. Another main message of the story is that all of us start off as souls looking for the best opportunity on Earth until our time to pass on. There is a sense of universal equity that goes along with souls and mortality.
Yes, Pixar has come out with a new family flick that the kids and grandma can enjoy, but beyond that “Soul” is a story that reminds us to be ourselves and that we are all here for a reason.