By: Eve Nevelos, Editorial Staff ‘24
Director Pete Docter has banged out a remarkable new film, adding to his impressive professional career. In Disney Pixar’s most recent release, “Soul”, viewers meet Joe Gardner, voiced by Jamie Foxx, a jazz pianist, who gets stuck in between the afterlife, the ‘Great Before’, and the present. The unique film showcased excellently put together backing tracks, capturing visuals, and an enchanting theme. The message is filled with intent, celebrating the little moments of life.
“Soul” is easy to understand for young minds, but has a much deeper meaning for older Pixar fans. The round, blue, bubbly souls in the ‘Great Before’ make the movie simple to grasp, yet the complexities of soul number 22’s personality make the ghostly figure easy to relate to.
22 is a soul that struggles to find her ‘spark’, even after guidance from pivotal figures in history, like Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, and Muhammed Ali. 22 displays a cynical, sarcastic, insecure, and lively personality that’s sure to make the audience fall in love. Perhaps 22’s best line is, “Don’t worry, you can’t crush a soul [in the Great Before], that’s what Earth is for.”
“Soul” features big names like Daveed Diggs, Tina Fey, Richard Ayoade (a personal favorite), Angela Bassett, Graham Norton, and the aforementioned Jamie Foxx. All characters were cast superbly by Natalie Lyon and Kevin Reher, earning applause from many movie critics at home and abroad.
The Jerries are the wittiest characters, played by Alice Braga, Richard Ayoade, and Wes Studi. They’re maternal figures who represent a condensed version of the universe (confusing, right?). The Jerries are the first known nonbinary figures in Disney movies, an exciting prospect. The Jerries quickly became my favorite characters in “Soul”, thanks to their humorous lines, simplistic design, and references to modern life. The Jerry voiced by Alice Braga holds up their hand, middle and ring finger touching their thumb, saying, “Quiet coyote, everyone,” the young blue souls soon following with their quiet attention.
The dynamic soundtrack of “Soul” brought the movie to life in a way unseen by Pixar before. Pixar chose to embrace the jazz theme, hiring Julliard graduate Jon Batiste. In addition to hiring a more traditional musician, Pixar recruited Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross from Nine Inch Nails, interesting choices, though there is no doubt that they fit the role. Jon Batiste and Celeste’s It’s All Right is likely the leading track featured in “Soul”. Take a listen to the movie’s full soundtrack while studying tonight for a taste of the movie.
Overall, I’d put this movie at a 9.8/10. The music is enchanting, the characters are adorable, the themes are something I can get on board with, the lack of COVID-related content is a relief, the movie is devoid of negativity, and the quality of work is astounding. With a runtime of just 100 minutes, “Soul” is a superb mid-week pick-me-up.