Soul inspires audience with heartfelt message

Jack Rogula, staff writer

Soul, Disney Pixar’s newest animated film directed by Pete Docter and released on Dec. 25, 2020 onto The Walt Disney Company’s official streaming service, Disney+, echoes the success and themes of 2015’s Inside Out. Having the same trademark striking visuals and amazing music that is common now with all of Pixar’s movies, Soul stands out as an instant classic through its message of enjoying life.

Soul follows Joe Gardner, a middle school band teacher who struggles to achieve his dream of becoming a great jazz musician. His mother refuses to accept his dreams, as she does not see it as a financially stable occupation. One day, a friend of Joe’s tells him that there has been a spot opening for a performance in the band of Dorothea Williams, a prestigious jazz saxophonist and Joe’s musical idol. Upon auditioning for the part, Joe gives an impressive performance in which he loses himself in the music.

That night, Dorothea offers him the part in the performance. As Joe runs off excited, he is distracted and abruptly falls to his death. His soul is transported to the afterlife, where he must grapple with his life’s legacy and his longing to get his soul back in his body on Earth.

Every single scene creates a memorable experience but most importantly, uses music to carry the spirit of the film to new heights. The jazz that is the literal “soul” of the film is in every corner and brings life to each scene. Whether it be slow and soulful or energetic and thrilling, musician Jon Batistes brings a number of original jazz pieces to life, making the striking visuals even more awe-inspiring. Composers Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross also craft an outstanding, new-age score for the metaphysical theme.

Soul takes much inspiration from another of Pixar’s most visually stunning films, Inside Out, as colors and flawless animation are used to build an entirely new world around the characters. The “Great Before”, or afterlife, is filled with colorful and vibrant characters, adding to the childlike wonder and spectacle that Pixar films can be counted on to give.

Pixar films are not much without their message and while it may be simple, Soul’s message of enjoying every moment of your life and making the most of it is more important now than ever, for everyone.

With a dreary 2020 behind us and even more uncertainty in 2021, enjoying every single day and moment is a straightforward but crucial lesson everyone can take to heart. Soul is uplifting and inspiring, offering a hope that you decide what you can and will make of not only your day but also your life.

Soul continues Pixar’s hot streak of stunning animated films and although it can’t be watched in theatres, it is nonetheless a great film for everyone to experience if given the chance and is definitely one of the latest and greatest Disney films of 2020.