Achievements. Money. Fame. Loads of them will not make a person content.
So tells the animated feature "Soul", another modern-day parable from director Pete Docter, who also helmed the critically acclaimed "Inside Out" from years back. Like the movie tackling emotions, this Disney-Pixar molds abstract concepts of life and death to tell an insightful story about appreciating what we already have all along.
Soul centers around music teacher Joe, a frustrated jazz pianist, who was supposed to die and go to the “Great Beyond”. Wanting to realize his dream, he escaped into the “Great Before” where he has to mentor a soul named “22” who could not seem to get her “Earth” patch to be born in the world of the living.
Without being preachy, it tells a powerful message about finding stillness in contentment. Sometimes, our longing for greatness could cause us painful hope that one thing would complete us and fill the holes in our lives. Humans lose sight of that and it can even take the joy out of the thing we used to love to do.
What I find lacking is a believable notion for predetermined personalities. It does not delve if living on Earth can affect or change a preprogrammed self-absorbed megalomaniacal soul or if that personality stays until the time of his death. Well, we can’t rely on an animated feature to figure all things for us.
The voice cast is excellent. I only learned that Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey voiced the main characters after looking at the credits. As for the animation, I love the character design and the background art breathing life to New York City. The shifts from the Great Beyond to the Great Before, and the Zone are trippy, not something we usually see in an all-ages animated feature.
The best Disney Pixar films carry the best insights. “Soul” tells us that we are in for an unpleasant surprise when we do reach that point where we’re hoping to feel “we’ve made it.”
#SoulMovie is now showing in Philippine cinemas in areas under MGCQ and is now streaming on Disney+.