To start off, I went into the movie blind to what it was about. So many people had been telling me to watch it. Pixar veteran Pete Docter is the credited co-director, alongside playwright and screenwriter Kemp Powers, who wrote Regina King’s outstanding “One Night in Miami.” Soul was probably one of the best new Disney movies there is out there. Alongside the OG Coco, which was also an award-winning Disney film. A personal favorite of mine.
In the film SOUL, a man named Jo has spent his whole life waiting for his ‘moment’. He finally gets his moment and falls into a sewer drain. This sends him to another dimension. The dimension is a path to the afterlife but he jumps off the line, almost like a conveyer belt, and falls into the ‘before life’ which is called the ‘you seminar’, and becomes a mentor for new souls on accident. Jo gets put into the seminar that was supposed to be someone else’s body, now has to train a young soul so they can enter into the earth, he is assigned a soul that is “unworkable” and they work together to Jo the earth pass, so the soul doesn’t have to ‘do life’ anymore. They go on a widespread adventure into the earth, on accident, being… let’s say not in the correct body. If you haven’t seen the film yet, go watch it and come back. I’ll wait for you.
“Can’t crush a soul here, that’s what earth is for” – Larry, a leader in ‘you seminar’.
Although this film was a classic, over the top, animation film by Disney, there is always something to be talked about. I loved this movie, but at times I felt like it was hard to follow along with the fast happening events. When Jo and 22 were sent back to earth the first time, not in the right bodies, I felt like that scene was very rushed. When they started talking from the opposite bodies, then the camera cuts to the perspective of the doctors. That was confusing as an audience member.
Some good, if not amazing things about the film were the storyline, animation, picture, color, and all that jazz. The storyline felt almost as like I had seen the same thing before, where they have a problem, solution and then take action to fix it, but that’s almost every Disney movie, if not every movie in general. The connection the storyline brings is a full circle of a learning opportunity. That having been said, there’s a nifty comic twist about halfway through the film that livens up “Soul” just when it was starting to drag. Needless to say that 22 eventually does find her spark, although it takes a lot of effort and more than a few wild misadventures to get there; and that Joe reexamines his years on earth as a genial but meek teacher and finds them wanting. He didn’t make as many friends as he should have and was consumed by fears that he traded his childhood dream of becoming a working jazz artist for a more ordinary life. (Joe’s mother, played by Phylicia Rashad, is not supportive of his music.) The downside is that this turns “Soul” into another of a string of animated films (including “The Princess and the Frog” and “Spies in Disguise”) in which a rare Black leading character is transformed into something else for the majority of a film’s running time. At the end of the movie, Jo finally gets back into his body and is able to fulfill his ‘big moment’. After reflection, he feels as though his meaning and purpose in life are complete.
Given this movie showed, if not unintentionally, life as an African-American in the music industry. In this case, Jazz. Jo’s father was the one to show him jazz and after Jo heard it, it was his life’s mission to make people know about jazz and how amazing it is. Although it is hard living in society today, the main focus was to learn a lesson about life, how when you think something may be huge and out of reach, you might be closer than you think.