Soul is Pixar’s upcoming film set to be released in cinemas (hopefully) at the end of this year.
Originally slated for a June release, the film was pushed back due to self-isolation as was many of Disney’s other line-ups. To people’s surprise, Pixar’s other 2020 film, Onward, saw a very limited theatrical run before it was dropped on their Disney+ streaming service for everyone else. While it was great to be able to watch a new release at home, I’m still hopeful that we’d be getting a theatrical run of Soul.
The studio released a trailer several months earlier that greatly sparked my interest, and upon further research, I have no doubt that Pixar’s Soul will be one of their most hard-hitting and existential films yet.
Here are five reasons why you should be excited about Soul.
1. It’s written and directed by Pete Docter.
Pete Docter is no stranger to Pixar, having written the first two instalments of Toy Story, Monsters Inc, Wall-E, Up, and Inside Out. He also has directing experience from Monsters Inc, Up and Inside Out, so his extensive experience working for Pixar will certainly be beneficial for Soul.
Not to mention, he is also the chief creative officer at Pixar Animation, so clearly he knows how to tell a good story.
Like with many of the other Pixar films, Pete Docter is not alone, with co-director and co-writer Kemp Powers, as well as writer Mike Jones (senior creative team at Pixar), Soul is sure to be a cohesive and well-told narrative from some experienced storytellers.
2. It has an exceptional cast.
Soul features a wonderfully diverse and talented cast, with Jamie Foxx as lead playing Joe Gardner, a high school music teacher who meets his untimely end. Supporting him is a huge cast including Tina Fey, Questlove, Angela Bassett and Phylicia Rashad.
Most notably, Soul looks to be a musical movie, which Pixar rarely does with the exception of films like Coco. The cast’s strong musical background lends themselves to bringing these characters to life (pun intended).
3. It’s beautifully animated.
In an interview, Docter mentions how the character’s souls were created with religious and traditional influence. The ‘ethereal’ or ‘vaporous’ characteristic proved to be a new challenge for the animators at Pixar, who were “used to toys, cars, things that are much more substantial and easily referenced”.
Needless to say, the concept art alone was enough to create buzz for their new project. You don’t have to look far to see their diverse animation styles, with wispy ghost-like souls, as well as two-dimensional beings being combined into a beautifully surreal afterlife.
Pixar has never disappointed with their unique animating style, and I’m excited to see how Pixar pushes boundaries in animation at the end of the year.
4. It has a big focus on jazz music.
In 2019, it was revealed at the D23 Expo that the film would be scored by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as Jon Batiste for the jazz pieces. Reznor and Ross are a huge duo working in the film composition industry, most notably for their work with David Fincher on The Social Network, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Gone Girl. This also appears to be their first project on a family film, so it will be interesting to see what they bring to the table.
Jon Batiste, on the other hand, is the bandleader for Stay Human, best known for their frequent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. Having seen the rise of jazz music in film recently, in particular with Damien Chazelle’s La La Land and Whiplash, it is exciting to see Pixar’s incorporation of jazz music as the driving force behind Joe Gardner’s desire to live.
5. Soul plans to explore “where no one’s seen ever been, well for a long time”.
Following an untimely demise, high school music teacher Joe Gardner goes on a journey through the afterlife to find his way back. Along the way, he tries to persuade Tina Fey’s character on life.
“Is all this life really worth dying for?” She asks in the trailer.
Not since Inside Out has Pixar done a project as abstract and ambitious as this, and while Inside Out‘s premise may have left people initially confused, needlessly to say it is one of their most emotionally rewarding film.
Soul on the other hand looks to answer the bigger question, the meaning of life. Fey’s character has a narrow understanding of life, and Foxx’s character brings her along on a journey to understand the real beauty of living.
Soul is sure to be an emotional rollercoaster for the whole family.