When I first heard about Soul, I’ll admit my first thought was that it would be another Inside Out. However, after just a few minutes of watching the newly-released movie, streaming exclusively on Disney+, it was clear that the heart of Soul is all its own. While it does have a similar look and feel, the entire movie is meticulously planned out, and the result is absolutely stunning from the opening credits to the very end. It’s clear that the animation was a labor of love mixing lifelike characters with ethereal “souls” seamlessly. The integration of music into the film was nearly perfect with stellar musical artistry and realistic portrayal of “the zone” one enters when performing. The animation is subtle yet breathtaking, a wonderful presentation of Pixar’s best work.
The storyline follows Joe Gardner, a New York City based jazz pianist and middle school band director. Black American culture, specifically in relation to the Black community’s historical connection with jazz, is prominent, something not often seen in mainstream media productions. It’s refreshing to see diversity come through so strongly without feeling forced. The character development of the movie extends beyond our piano-playing protagonist, showing the power of one person with a zest for life to invigorate a community. With expectation subversion, comedic timing, and powerful messages, Soul hits home with everyone as it poses thoughtful questions about the meaning of life and inspires audiences of all backgrounds and walks of life.
Soul premiered on December 25, 2020, and is available for streaming on Disney+.
By: Emma Creason