In a year that has given us more gut punches than any other year I can remember….i.e. Kobe passing away, Coronavirus, or the Vikings missing another playoffs. This year has been somewhat of a soul crusher………bad joke. Despite all the shit that has gone down, there was a glimmer of hope. Pixar released “Soul” on Christmas day and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I was very excited for this movie from the first time I heard the concept of it. Pixar is recent years has been a little flaky with their movies that they drop……see Cars 3, Onward…..But they do know how to get us in the feels when we least expect it. It could be recency bias or what I like to call my “movie hangover”……but this movie fits into my top 3 Pixar movies. 1. Toy Story 2 2. Inside Out 3. Soul………Incredibles is so close to being 3 that it hurts. Between the animation style and the music this movie is near perfection. I don’t want to dive into spoilers too much, but it truly will be hard not to talk about the 3rd act of this movie without giving some some of spoilers……..so……….beware.
Jamie Foxx plays the title character Joe, a middle aged middle school music teacher with a passion for jazz music. He finally gets the opportunity of his lifetime when he is asked to play piano at a club his dad once took him too when he was a kid. After strolling through the streets with enjoyment he falls into a man hole and is presumably in a coma. From here Joe is in his soul version trying to figure out how to avoid the great beyond and get back to earth to play his gig……..Now I could describe this movie beat by beat, but that’s not what this is about. I had to type the first part to get to where I wanted to talk about this movie. The whole message behind the movie is that we all have passions that drive us. For me my passion is golf…….even though I am not very good at it……….but it’s probably my favorite thing is this world. When I am golfing….whether good or bad….I am having fun. For Joe his passion is jazz music. When he is playing he goes into what’s called “the zone”. It’s a point where he is completely tranced and nothing can break him. This movie talks a lot about how our passions drive us. And later in the movie it shows how our passions can over take us and we can become lost souls. It does a very good job of showing us that it is great for us to have passions, but we can ‘t let them take us over or become obsessed with this. We need to be able to live in the moment. Enjoy life for what it’s worth. It’s such a simple premise, but it lays it out so perfectly. That’s what makes this movie great and that’s what makes Pixar very good at what they do……when they’re not trying to make a cash grab movie……..I’m looking at you Cars 2 and Cars 3. YOU ARE COMPLETE PILES OF TRASH!!!!!!…..sorry I freaked out there.
The animation style of this movie works so well especially when paired with the music, which is done again to perfection from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, who may I say have composed some of my favorite movies…..see Gone Girl and The Social Network. Trent Reznor also is one of my favorite musical artists when he was Nine Inch Nails. The animation style is very different which is nice to see. They got weird with some parts of the movie, but it helped in so many ways. Syncing the animation movements with the beats of the jazz is art in itself. It also plays with different animation styles in different moments. It was fun to watch the animation as much is was to just watch the movie. I was mesmerized throughout the whole thing.
All in all the movie is fantastic. The message is definitely geared more towards adults and how we can obsess over things that take us out of life itself. Kids will still like this movie, but this is one that they will grow up with and the message will grow stronger as they get older. The jokes are not as heavy as other Pixar movies, but the jokes still land….especially the New York Knicks one. Soul is available on Disney Plus for free…..none of this pay for the movie Mulan bullshit. Go enjoy and if you want more movie reviews go listen to our podcast “And The Pod Goes To…” available on spotify or apple music