What is it that makes you….YOU? That’s the question Disney Pixar is asking in their new film “Soul.” It stars Jamie Foxx as Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher with a longing to pursue his passion of playing jazz professionally. When he gets his big break, something tragic happens that sets him on a cosmic journey down a different path.
“In Pixar and Disney fashion, we go on a journey of finding out where souls come from,” Foxx says.
In this story from co-director/writer Pete Docter (“Inside Out”) and Kemp Powers (“One Night in Miami”) and writer Mike Jones (“Toy Story 4”) they explore the idea of what happens when you die. Where does your soul go? And what can you do with your time on Earth to make sure you spend the afterlife in a better place? What is that spark that makes you unique?
It sounds like pretty heady stuff for an animated movie. But Pixar has never shied away from heavy topics before. Tina Fey plays 22, a precocious soul who has never understood the appeal of the human experience. She says most kids will get the meaning behind the film right away.
“I think kids are going to be ahead of adults on it in terms of understanding the topics,” Fey says. She also says her 9-year-old has been watching early cuts of the film with her and has been enraptured since the beginning. Fey says a middle school teacher helped her find her spark by encouraging her writing.
“He wrote on one of my papers, ‘You are a writer! You should be a writer when you grow up!’” Fey says. “And at the time I was like, I want to be a movie star! But it turns out he was right and writing was my path to doing what I wanted to do in life.”
Foxx is making history in the film as the first Black lead in a Pixar film. He says he felt connected to Joe because of his desire to pursue his passion.
“I am a dreamer. I constantly dream,” Foxx says. “And even though I’ve had some success in this business we’re in, I’m still an artist I still dream about finding that next song, finding that next joke.”
There are some wonderful comedic moments in the film especially when Joe and 22 are exploring what's known as The Great Before. The animation feels ethereal in The Great Before. It ties beautifully with the score from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross who have created an otherworldly and immersive sound.
If you want to explore the otherworldly side of “Soul” it will be streaming Dec. on Disney +. There is no additional fee to watch the film for Disney + subscribers.
“Soul” stars Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey, Questlove, Phylicia Rashaad, and Angelia Bassett.