Disney and PIxar’s Soul – Budget of $150 million+ – 1 hours and 40 minutes
Joe works as a middle school music teacher in M.S. 70. He hopes to inspire a love of music, especially jazz, in each of his students. During class, the principal calls Joe to the hallway. They can offer him a full-time teaching position with time off and benefits, no more part-time work for him. Joe wanted to be a full-time musician in a jazz band, not a teacher, so he doesn’t know how to feel about the news. He goes to his mother’s tailor shop, and Libba tells him that he must take the job. Libba wants Joe to have a steady income with benefits, not an unstable gig, so Joe tells Libba he will take the job. Joe gets a call from Curley, a former student, and Curley is a drummer for Dorothea Williams, a famous local jazz saxophonist. Dorothea needs a new pianist, and Curley recommended Joe. Joe must get to the club to try out for a spot on Dorothea’s quartet. Joe runs downtown as fast as he can and meets with Dorothea. She tells Joe to sit at the piano and join them. The band starts to jam. At first, Joe is confused because he doesn’t know the song they are playing, but then he gets into a zone. When he opens his eyes, the band watches in awe. Dorothea tells him to get a suit, come back at 9 PM tonight, and congratulations. Joe made the band. Excited, he runs home, talking on his phone, and falls into an open sewer. When Joe wakes up, his body is gone, and he is a blue blob. Now, Joe is a soul headed to the Great Beyond. He yells at other souls that he can’t be dead because his life just started. He runs from the Great Beyond, falls off the bridge, and falls into the Great Before. All the soul counselors introduce themselves as Jerry. It’s their job to give souls their personality, but one spot remains open. Once the soul fills that spot by going to the Hall of Everything, they get an Earth pass and start their life. Jerry assumes Joe is a mentor for souls looking for the spark to fill the last spot. After several failed attempts to return to earth, Joe sees he is not dead but in a coma at the hospital. Joe decides to pretend to be a mentor and steal an Earth pass to get back. Jerry assigns Joe to 22. Twenty-two hasn’t found a spark in centuries and even worked with Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, and Muhammad Ali. But none of them could help 22. Twenty-two doesn’t see the point of living if dying is the result. Joe and ’22’ make a promise, if he helps her find her spark, ’22’ will give Joe her Earth pass. He will live, and she will never be born.
As usual, Pixar delivers the concept of life, death, and the beyond in a touching, palatable, and beautiful way. It makes sure not to bog down the message with too much religion, but it explains how souls came to be and what becomes of them. For a brief moment, Joe mentions heaven and hell, but the movie doesn’t show either place. To parents, there are plenty of jokes for you to enjoy. But one concept that will pull you in is the land of Lost Souls. Some of these lost souls aren’t dead. They are so focused on one thing that they stopped living their life. For some, this looks like depression or obsession, but putting an image to this concept will strike a chord with you. This movie is a film the entire family can enjoy, and it’s a strong entry to close out the year.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars
I’m 12 – Connie
Lord knows we need more teachers in this world – Libba
You gotta suit.? Get a suit, a good suit – Dorothea
I got a gig tonight. I can’t die now – Joe
You sure get lost a lot – Jerry
I’m gonna make you wish you never died – 22
Categories: angela bassett, Daveed Diggs, disney, Disney+, Jamie Foxx, movie, phylicia rashad, pixar, Pixar Soul, Questlove, review, tina fey, VOD